The Law of Diminishing Intent: Destroying Businesses and Personal Inspiration Everywhere

by Marcus Sheridan

Some call it procrastination. Others call it hesitation or fear. But the great Jim Rohn described it better than any man I’ve ever heard. He called it ‘The Law of Diminishing Intent’, and it is something that literally affects every business owner and entrepreneur throughout the world every day.

But before we discuss this topic in a little more detail, take 90 seconds out of your life and watch this video. It’s Rohn discussing this powerful law and his eloquence deserves a listen….plus the guy is much smarter than me. Here ya go:

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It happens to all of us. We get an idea. It makes us smile. It makes us feel invigorated. We feel inspired and we know there is no way it won’t work…………

That is, until, DOUBT sets in. Yep, that dirty word destroys inspiration quicker than you can blink an eye. One second you feel an idea is meant to be and just a few moments later your telling yourself every reason why it WON’T work. Ever happened to you?

Our Greatness Within

I personally believe in the power of inspiration. I believe that each and every one of us has greatness within, just waiting to come out and benefit the world. In this, we are all equals.

Where we are not all equals is in our ability to listen to and have faith in our promptings. In fact, I’d say that one’s ability to listen to and follow the inspiration they receive on a daily basis is the most important factor in attaining true happiness in this life. Allow me to share an example.

A Choice Experience

I had quite a bit going on in my life in the year 2000. I’d been home from serving as a missionary in Chile for 2 years and had just married my wonderful wife, Nikki. During this time, I had reconvened my studies at West Virginia University and was busy with a full-time class schedule as well as working 20-30 hours a week as a waiter to support our little family while my wife worked as well. And to top it all off, months into our marriage, Nikki and I found out we were expecting our first child. Yep, a lot was going on.

But it was also during this time that I felt a strong prompting. You see, my time as a missionary in Chile was laced with unique and life-changing experiences. And as I looked back on these incredible events, I more and more felt inspired to write about them. My thought was that if they changed my life, maybe they’d change the life of others.

But like any inspired thought, doubt accompanied my excitement. How could I pull it off? How could I find the time to write while balancing marriage, college, work, and the rigors of adding a new member to the family? Needless to say, there were plenty of reasons to ‘put off’ my prompting and save the book until after college.

Ideas Are Like the Seasons

But that’s now how inspiration works. Just like the seasons, ideas and inspiration come and go freely, waiting to be taken by anyone who will give them heed. So despite all the reasons I had not to write a book (along with the fact that writing was something I’d never been good at), I decided such a project couldn’t wait. I’d simply have to make it work.

To make a long story short, over the next 12 months I worked almost daily on my manuscript. After much sacrifice, late nights, and dedication, the manuscript was complete. It was ready to be sent out to publishers.  There was light at the end of the tunnel.

But as I soon found out, just writing a manuscript in some ways is the easy part to having a book published. Having a publisher actual agree to its printing—well that’s a whole new ball game.

The Roller-Coaster Ride Begins

I sent the manual out to various publishers over a few month period. Finally, after checking the mail every day for weeks upon weeks, I got my first answer back from a publisher. Eagerly and with hands shaking, my wife and I opened the letter together.

It was at this moment I found out that just because an idea feels inspired, doesn’t mean that everyone else will share in your enthusiasm. In other words, the publisher thanked me for my submission but said they were ‘not interested in the work at this time’.

Bummer. Ouch.

This feeling of disappointment would be felt at least a half a dozen more times over the following weeks, each time bringing with it more frustration and a feeling of failure. Despite these ‘failures’ though, I kept trying, kept believing in the inspiration I had received over a year beforehand.

But then one day everything changed. Upon opening another letter from a publisher and expecting another kind rejection, I was thrilled to read they had accepted the manual and were willing to publish it.

Needless to say, my joy was full.

Today, I look back on this experience with fondness. It taught me countless lessons but none more important than the need we have as human beings to trust in and follow the inspiration we all at times receive.

The Power of NOW

So like Jim Rohn admonishes, don’t let your ideas fall by the wayside. Don’t wait to buy that book. Don’t put off calling that person any longer. Start writing that article you know is just waiting to leave your finger tips.

Strike while the iron is hot. Now, now, now is the time to change your future. Now is the moment to listen to your that wonderful gift of inspiration we’ve all been given.

As always, your comments and questions are very much invited and appreciated.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Kent Carpenter June 28, 2010 at

Words as strong as a garlic milkshake!
Your spirited advice has rekindled my fire and is renewing my life!
Thank you Marcus!

Reply

Marcus Sheridan June 29, 2010 at

‘Garlic Milkshake’…..dang, that was classic Kent! :-)

Your words are too kind my friend, but I’m so glad your fire has been rekindled!

Reply

Daniel M. Wood June 29, 2010 at

As usual your articles continue to impress.
The fact that we let that little voice inside control our lives is sad.
But once you know it is there you can also choose not to listen.

Sometimes it is of value to take caution and rethink some of your ideas but only if done in a positive sense. If we can learn to look at our ideas and instead of trying to find reasons that they are impossible to achieve, try to find solutions that will make them work.

Everyone can learn something from this article and I am glad you shared it with us.

Speak to you later Marcus.

//Daniel
.-= Daniel M. Wood´s last blog ..Persistence In The Face Of Adversity =-.

Reply

Marcus Sheridan June 29, 2010 at

Daniel, how is the best sales professional in Norway?? :-)

Well I do appreciate you stopping by my friend and I like how you say we should focus on ‘solutions’….totally agree, as too many want to focus on ‘problems’ and reasons as to why something cannot be done.

Reply

Daniel M. Wood June 30, 2010 at

While I wouldn’t call myself the best sales professional in Norway I am thankful for the compliment ;)

It has been one of the main problems (again that word!) at my company for the last few years, only recently have we had a CEO change to one who focuses on the solutions instead of the problems.

The difference has been huge and the company is now doing better than ever as we can focus on solutions and doing or jobs rather than focusing on the problems and who is to blame.
.-= Daniel M. Wood´s last blog ..Persistence In The Face Of Adversity =-.

Reply

Domain Name Ninja June 29, 2010 at

That was deep bro. Good reading for anyone sitting around wondering if something will ever change. You have to listen and make it change.
.-= Domain Name Ninja´s last blog ..Making money on the internet =-.

Reply

Marcus Sheridan June 29, 2010 at

Ninja, you’re right man, we gotta listen, and we gotta listen good….Keep doing great things over there on your blog and thanks for stopping by.

Reply

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