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Focus on the Intent – Not the behavior

There came a small boy running and crying to the wise man. He was hurt.

The wise man asked him what happened. Why was he crying?

The boy narrated – that he saw a black cat stuck in the wired boundary and she wasn’t able to set herself free. She was struggling and was getting hurt in the process of freeing herself.

With empathy for her, he tried to help her and take her out of the wires safe. And the moment he released her out, she pounced her paw and scratched his hand and ran away.

The boy was hurt, disappointed and regretted feeling empathetic and helping the cat. He said, i will never ever help and next time when he sees that cat, he will make sure he throws a stone to hurt her.

The wise man explained that before we make a judgment on a situation or a being, we need to understand the context. And more so, changing your character based on how the other reacted is not a great idea.

He said, let’s try and see the full context of the situation and understand the background before making judgments based on how a situation/person seems to be on the surface.

Let’s not judge anyone on the behaviour but consider the intent as to why someone did what they did.

The black cat is seen as an inauspicious creature in our society. And hence, everytime it is seen, it has been made to get away by a threat of attack or literally attacked. So for the cat, the experience of human has most of the time been of attacking and hurting her. So in her mind, she would have no understanding of your intent. She would see human through the experiences she has always had. Your intent is best known to you. So when you, with whatever intent of helping her out of her situation, got close to her, she believed you to be attacking her or hurting her and so with an intent of protecting herself from you, attacked you back.

Do you think she was wrong?

The boy thought …paused for a few moments as if putting himself in the cat’s shoes and said NO. The cat was not wrong. She must have thought i was attacking her because of all her previous experiences.

The wise man said, then why should you change your character of helping others based on other’s behaviour or response to you? Don’t you think it is important to focus on the intent than the behaviour?

The boy understood. He promised that he will never change his character and will continue doing good.

Does our perspective not completely change if we learn to look at the intent than the behaviour? And when our perspective change, our actions, our approach, our beliefs, our character and our results change.

Does this make you think? Do you think you could have done any better in your life situations?

Do share your experiences.


Published by Reetu Verma (

I am founder of my brand - Get Sorted™, a passionate life transformation Coach, Author & a Transformation Speaker with a pedigree of 23 years of accomplished career as a senior HR professional with companies like Prometric, Genpact Headstrong, Nortel Networks, SSP Worldwide, Xebia Architects & British Council. - Author of "Get Sorted" Your truth is what you want to see! Reality may be different. - Traveled around the world – United Kingdom, United States of America, Malaysia, Singapore, Hongkong, Europe (Switzerland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium), Dubai, Thailand, Bhutan - Impacted lives of 15000+ people across the globe I am passionate about making a positive difference in people’s lives. Nothing satisfies more than to help someone find life in their life, a solution to their problem, clarity in their confusion, light in their darkness, hope in their despair and strength in their being.

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