Today I submitted a form expressing my intent to graduate at the commencement ceremony in December. Upon handing over the sheet of paper, the man on the other side of the desk energetically congratulated me on my impending completion of my undergraduate career.
I smiled and thanked him, naturally.
I walked out of the office and thought about how I was celebrated, even for a moment, simply because I wrote on a piece of paper that I am intending to graduate from college. Even though I am not walking across a stage to receive my diploma, is the mere intention of getting to that point worth receiving praise?
This phenomenon of celebrating one’s intentions is not only an unnecessary elevation of goals – it celebrates mediocrity when nothing tangible has been accomplished.
“I am intending to have a well-paying job after college.”
“I plan to one day get married.”
“I have an intent to catch up with an old friend.”
It could be argued that this norm of acknowledging intents is simply a form of encouragement so that people have more motivation to achieve their goals. I’m sure that is the case in certain situations.
However, we should be wary of celebrating intentions as if they are the accomplishments themselves.
The less hyperbolic we make intentions out to be, the more meaningful the congratulations we receive will be.