Here is John Maxwell’s explanation in an excerpt from his book:
“When I was a kid, one of my father’s favorite riddles to us went like this: Five frogs are sitting on a log. Four decide to jump off. How many are left?
“The first time he asked me, I answered, “One.”
“No,” he responded, “Five. Why? Because there’s a difference between deciding and doing!”
“That was a point that Dad often drove home with us. American politician Frank Clark said, “What great accomplishments we’d have in the world if everybody had done what they intended to do.”
“Most people don’t act as quickly as they should on things. They find themselves subject to the Law of Diminishing Intent, which says, “The longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds that you will never actually do it.”
This Law of Diminishing Intent (“LoDI”) affects leaders every day. It happens to all of us. We get an idea and we’re excited about it – it makes us happy, energized, and inspired.
That is, until that tiny voice of DOUBT whispers to us. That voice in our heads that tell us we’re not good enough, we’re not smart enough, we’re not ready can destroy inspiration faster than anything. One minute you know this idea is fantastic and yet just a few minutes later you start listing all the reasons why it can’t work. Has this ever happened to you?
- 1. Start Today. The law says you have a 48 hour window of opportunity to act. And if you don’t, you will often derail your idea and miss your chance to accomplish something important. Understanding and using the LoDI is a simple and effective way to turn your idea, your intention, into vital action. It is the way to capture your opportunities before they slip away.
- 2. Stop Listening to the Gremlin Voice. Stop listening to the voice in your head telling you NO or WHOA, reminding you of the times you tried in the past and failed. You are not your past. You are not even your future. You are your present. And if you have a great idea today, break free of the past that’s holding you back and push forward.
- 3. Sync with Your Emotions. The clearer you can get your idea and what it will look like once it’s achieved, the stronger your emotions are tied to it. “Does your WHY make you CRY?” Is your idea tied so deeply into you that thinking about it can bring about those emotions of excitement again? If so, you can make it through the stumbling blocks that will inevitably happen.
- 4. Seek Help. Tell others what you’re doing and why. Don’t feel like you have to do this on your own. Have an accountability partner, hire a coach. And don’t mistake busyness for action. Planning is great unless that’s where you stall out. You must take action and having people who are willing to help you will encourage you to take the action needed to implementing your idea.
I believe that every one of us has greatness within us – given to us to benefit the world. I believe in your ability to hear the inspiration from within and act on it. Don’t let the gremlin voice or the Law of Diminishing Intent derail you from implementing your great ideas.
It’s time to overcome the Law of Diminishing Intent – don’t put if off any longer.
Add to our top 4 suggestions to overcoming LoDI with some of your own. Share your comments by joining the conversation in the comment section below.