Successful Intentions – What Makes Them Work?

by Wendy on February 15th, 2010

This is a synopsis of a talk I was invited to give at Crossroads New Thought Spiritual Center in Carlsbad, CA, on November 1, 2009.

If you are at all metaphysical in your spiritual philosophy, you are aware of the power of intentions and affirmations for planning and goal setting. But why are some intentions successful and others not?

There have been millions of fans in the past couple of years of the DVD and book The Secret. Many of those followers, however, have since complained that the formulas presented seem to be flawed. Several of the participants in The Secret have jumped in to defend their positions and stepped forward with helpful suggestions to assure a higher percentage of success. But, doubt and skepticism still linger. Why?

Back in the mid 1970’s — long before I knew anything about metaphysical thinking and at the time very solidly

Dr. Maxwell Maltz

entrenched in a powerful and controlling organized religion — I was drawn to study famous motivational personalities; Zig Zigler, Og Mandino, Norman Vincent Peale, and one that stood out more than the others, Maxwell Maltz, the originator of Psycho Cybernetics. He taught a most important truth that resonated with me and has stayed with me all these years. “The brain can not tell the difference between a vividly imagined experience and a real one”. And through intense visualization and focus one can come to actually believe what they imagine. The qualifier is, of course, the focused visualization. More than just simple affirmations.

This point was verified by studies done on prisoners of war after returning from long incarcerations after World War II. Many soldiers had kept their sanity through practicing over and over in their minds the sports or musical talents they enjoyed before the war. The results were clear, all came home more accomplished in what they practiced mentally than when they had left for war. The results of these studies have been used by sports trainers to catapult athletes throughout the world into continuing higher levels of performance. These successful practices continue with even more intensity and widespread usage. During the recent Olympic games in Vancoover, it was common to see competitors doing visualizations just prior to their performance. So, we see that visualization needs to be intense and focused over a period of time, which takes consistency and perseverance.

Also back in the early 70’s while living in Boise, Idaho, I was approached to run for the Idaho State Legislature in my district. I had been lobbying the Education Committee about questionable textbooks at the time and had made a favorable impression on some legislators on the committee. They approached me to run wanting me to knock out a ten year incumbent who was creating difficulty. As I contemplated the proposition, I would visit the legislature and sit in the balcony and observe the session activities. I knew I had the ability to do the job and I could see myself down on the house floor participating. There was never any question in my mind that I would be successful. There was great passion behind my intention to win. I lived it mentally for the next year and did all within my power to make it a reality. I was successful and won three consecutive elections. As I look back, I see how unknowingly, I had applied some powerful basic principles that were ultimately very successful.

A few months ago, Oprah featured the story of an African woman, Tererai Trent.

Tererai Trent

In her village, girls were not allowed to go to school. Her brother attended and she loved learning to the extent she would do her brothers homework. Officials finally allowed her, at age eleven,to attend. But within a few weeks her father married her off and her brief public schooling was over.

A few years later, Heifer International came to Tererai’s village with humanitarian aid and help to give the women hope. One of the Heifer staff spoke to the women telling them that it was ok to dream and instructed them to write down their dreams. Tererai wrote down her deep desires to go to school in America and get a college education and even a PhD. Her mother told her to bury her list of dreams under a rock. She wrapped her paper in a piece of tin an plastic and hid it under a rock by the base of a tree.

Tererai now lives in America with her children and a new and loving husband and is only a few months away from achieving her goal and receiving her dreamed of PhD. What made her intentions more successful than the other women in the village who wrote down their dreams that day? Passion, she had that all important fire in her belly!

Repeating intentions or affirmations by rote is not enough. Many write down desires and create vision boards hoping that seeing their desires on the wall and in their journals will create them. It is not enough. You must live your dream within your mind before you see it materialize. Wayne Dyer wrote a book entitled, “You’ll See it When You Believe it”. That is the true formula. Remember, the brain can’t tell the difference between a vividly imagined experience and a real one. You must condition your brain to believe it is a reality through repeated focused visualization with as much emotion and passion as you can muster before it becomes a reality.

This also applies to the focused intention of the masses. Noetic Science address this phenomenon.

Lynne McTaggart

Noetic author Lynne McTaggart has proven that focused thought can affect literally anything. In her book, The Intention Experiment she describes the studies’ findings and her ongoing web based study, continues to document that human consciousness is a highly ordered energy capable of changing the physical world. The experiments show that it can affect the growth rate of plants, the direction fish swim in a bowl, the manner in which cells divide in a petri dish, and the chemical relations in one’s own body to name just a few. These studies continue to prove that human thought can transform the physical world and that this process is not just New Age hocus pocus. We are literally masters of our own world.

I conclude with a quote from Mike Dooley,  from his daily web blasts called Notes from the Universe at”When it comes to setting aside a little time each day to visualize, look at it like this:

No matter how distracted you become or how confused you are about the process, the simple fact that you gave your dream this time and attention means you did it correctly, you did it longe enough, and that by the time you open your eyes, already in the unseen, huge wheels have begun turning.”


You think I’d make it hard?
Your humble servant,
The Universe

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