What Happens When You Intend

February 19, 2008

Working on a second book for John Assaraf, I was doing a little research today on the word “intention,” and discovered a few fascinating points.

The word intention literally means “to stretch in a certain direction.” It comes from the Latin tendere, meaning “to stretch,” and is related to the Sanskrit tantram, meaning “loom,” as well as the Persian tar and the Greek tono, which means “string” and therefore also “sound” or “musical note.”

So, put that together:

To create an intention around a thought is to take that thought and stretch it out like the threads of a loom and weave a picture of the future—to stretch it out like the string of a musical instrument and play the melody of your heart’s desire.

Suddenly, it’s a beautiful word, isn’t it? Intend.

Bonus point in the “food for thought” dept.: The word “goal” is thought to derive from the Old English word gal, which means “barrier” or “obstacle.”


  1. Tim Wysong

    Intend is as successful as “trying”

  2. jdmann

    I’m not sure I agree, Tim. To “try” means to test, to attempt, and is by definition exploratory, even tentative. “Intention” brings with it the connotation of full engagement and commitment and outcome.

    It can be used in a tentative sense (“I intend to clean up my room, but if I don’t feel like, perhaps I won’t after all”). But that’s not the principal sense of the word.


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