Intent, Action, Result and Responsibility

Scenario 1

A surgeon makes a cut on the patient’s body. Blood starts oozing out. The assistant helps with cotton. Anesthetist does his job to keep the patient free from pain. After an hour’s process the surgeon rectifies the problem inside and sews the wound.

Scenario 2

A surgeon makes a cut on the patient’s body. Blood starts oozing out. The assistant helps with cotton. Anesthetist does his job to keep the patient free from pain. After an hour’s process the surgeon sews back the wound. A week later, the patient succumbs to the illness and breathes his last. The surgeon makes his best effort to save the patient, but fails.

Scenario 3

A surgeon makes a cut on the patient’s body. Blood starts oozing out. The assistant helps with cotton. Anesthetist does his job to keep the patient free from pain. Suddenly the doctor realises – he had not reviewed certain important parameters from the tests made previous day. No one is aware of this lacuna. He is afraid of repercussions of revealing it now and decides to keep it a secret. After an hour’s process the doctor sews back the wound he had made. The surgeon feels very bad and guilty. He genuinely wished and prayed to God to save the patient and free him from the guilt. Unfortunately, two days later the patient breathes his last.

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Scenario 4

A surgeon makes a cut on the patient’s body. Blood starts oozing out. The assistant helps with cotton. Anesthetist does his job to keep the patient free from pain. While on job, the surgeon is rejoicing within. He has now found a rich scapegoat. He has in his mind a list of needless surgeries / treatments to recommend to this patient. He also has in his mind the exclusive piece of jewellery he intends to present his wife for her next birthday. After an hour’s process the surgeon rectifies part of the problem and sews the wound.

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In scenario 1, the surgeon’s actions were well intended, well-informed and well performed. Both the patient and surgeon are happy. This is an ideal scenario, one which everyone want to be in.

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In scenario 2 also, the surgeon’s actions were well intended, well-informed and well performed. However, for reasons beyond the surgeon’s scope, the patient succumbs to illness. The surgeon feels sorry for the patient’s family. Many a times this happens to us. We perform actions with good intent and to the best of our abilities. However, the results will be to the contrary mostly for reasons beyond our control. We have to let that pass and keep moving forward, like this surgeon.

In scenario 3, the surgeon’s actions were well intended but not well-informed hence, under performed. The patient succumbs to the illness. The surgeon suffers due to guilt. It is not enough, if our intentions are genuine. As responsible people, we need to obtain complete information required to fulfill our responsibility and take appropriate actions. Shifting the responsibility on God, hiding our lacunae, etc., are not answers for overcoming the lacunae we have created by being irresponsible. No one may be aware of such mistakes. However the sense of guilt will make the person suffer. Thus, one cannot escape the result of wrong actions, irrespective of the intention.

Good intentions need to be empowered and fortified with well-informed, timely actions. Owning up of actions and suffering silently are sure signs of escapism and not that of responsible behaviour. Being aware of our shortcomings, accepting them and working to improve upon are the recommended steps in such situations.

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In scenario 4, the patient is not aware of the loot he is being subjected to. He believes, his doctor is doing the best to cure him. The doctor’s actions are well-informed and well performed, but the intent is flawed.

There may not be any repercussions for such actions in the immediate. However the results of bad intent will eventually show up in some form or the other at a later stage. Most of the suffering we see around today are a result of these types of actions. Cheating, Win-Lose deals, Self-centred actions, (may be obvious or sugar-coated) etc., provide someone with pleasures and security for the immediate future, but they are short living and sure prescriptions for long-term suffering and worry.

Ancient Indian Scriptures declare that results of intentions are experienced as luck or un-luck. We have discussed this in detail in an earlier post on a strategy to build luck… Now some questions to reflect upon…

Do you have the patience, will and resolve to build luck?

Are you aware of your intentions? Who and what determines your intentions?

What kind of actions do you undertake? Who is in control?

What is your attitude towards actions and results?

Do you own up your actions and its results? What does owning up mean to you?

Do you feel responsible for the consequences of your actions?

Do you take responsibility for the consequences of your actions?

What does being responsible mean to you?

What are you responsible for / What should you feel responsible for?

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