Monday Morning Medicine (podcast and text): The Dilemma of Co-creation of Intentions.

Posted by Trevor on 26 May 2013 | 11 Comments

cliffsHappy Monday morning everyone,

This week I have included a text version of the podcast. I don’t normally script them, but thought this subject was important enough to share verbally and then in writing so everyone can get involved. The podcast can be found at the end of the text.

Last week I got several emails and blog comments about the topic of co-creation or sharing Intentions with the people we care about. We have touched on this subject before in a podcast but it is a difficult concept to accept, and it might help to hear my perspective on it. It is a subject that keeps coming up. What I have to say is not very popular, and I get some disagreement, but I’ll use the data from my clinical trial of one marriage and some surprising marriage statistics for proof.

First of all thanks to everyone who sends me emails or adds comments to an article or forum topic. Please don’t think I am picking on you by discussing the subject more widely. Whenever I get several communications on one topic I assume it reflects many more people out there who have the same question, so by sending feedback you are helping me help others with the same concern, and for that I am grateful.

When couples get together in such a cloud of excitement and passion, it is natural for them to share their dreams and aspirations for the future. It seems like the right thing to do because in a way they are stating that they want their partner to be part of this envisioned life. It feels good and adds apparent security to the relationship. Cupid floats over their shoulders stretching his bow. The problem with arrows is that they tend to burst the bubble when they are released.

Here are some sobering statistics from the US census that I just googled:

▪ 41 percent of first marriages end in divorce.

▪ 60 percent of second marriages end in divorce.

▪ 73 percent of third marriages end in divorce.

In America, there are 46,523 divorces per week and the average length of a marriage that ends in divorce is eight years. I was also surprised to learn that couples that live together prior to marriage are 40% more likely to get divorced.

If you think things are better in your country, you’ll be shocked. The US is only about 15th worst in the list. Portugal has highest ratio 68% Spain has the highest divorce to marriage ration of 61% UK 47%

Sharing those dreams and aspirations and desiring to co create really doesn’t seem to have helped does it?

Now, the data from my clinical trial of one marriage. When I was 24 years old I got married. My wife was 26 and has always introduced me as her toy boy. We had been engaged three years. We would have got married sooner but my wife’s father was a cargo ship Captain who was away up to two years at a time, so we waited for him to be home. It was 1984 and I was earning the massive income of 7000 pounds a year, about 10,000 dollars which is equivalent to $22,000 today. Warning being don’t keep cash under your mattress.

The world encouraged us to get the highest mortgage we thought we could afford because houses are the best investment and house prices never go down.  I recall accepting those very words of advice from family and I believed it back then. That meant that I put a huge albatross of debt around my neck and proceeded to live on cereal and milk. I wore spectacles and could not afford to get them repaired. They were held to my ears by twisted fuse wire, and while driving if I cornered too fast they would fall off and end up swinging off one ear. When it happened the first time my wife to be laughed so much she almost wet herself. I wore tattered clothes and in our wedding photographs look emaciated. Quite what she saw in me is mystery.

Living hand to mouth, both working opposite shifts that meant most days we passed each other on the stairs.

We had a lot of fun but life was not easy. So knowing our situation back then, imagine my wife’s reaction if I told her that one day I Intended to be my own boss, have this great company, sell it for millions, build the house of my dreams, and retire financially independent before I was 50. While I am sure she believed in me, it would be nigh on impossible for her to envision that from the bedraggled specimen that was sitting before her. And that is why I never told her. I read in a book somewhere that our personal dreams should remain private because when we share them we invite doubt and sometimes even ridicule in our lives, especially from those we expect support from, and that sucks away all our enthusiasm. We feel foolish and start to doubt ourselves. We expect our partner to be fully behind us and when they show doubt or lack of equal enthusiasm conflict starts.

As I say, I don’t think sharing Intentions is behind those shocking divorce statistics, but it is symptomatic because I know all couples (except those who have read books like TSS) do it. It is not necessary to co-create to have a blast of an adventure together. You just have to have such a great, inspiring Intention for yourself that your partner would be quite happy to come along for the sheer exhilaration of the ride. It doesn’t matter if he or she believes in it, wants it, or thinks they want something different. It will be so amazing they’ll come along anyway.

Now of course we shared lesser goals of having great vacations, of going to Disneyland, of being able to one day afford a meal in a nice restaurant, of owning a car of our own… but those are not personal Intentions. My personal, private, massive Intention allowed us to share in the experience of all those things along the way. My wife loves Disneyland and I don’t care for it but I went there so many times I consider Mickey Mouse to be a personal friend. Why?… to see the sheer smile on her face that my Intention allowed to happen. I never dreamt of going to Disneyland. I dreamt of seeing her childlike happiness that could only happen when I created the financial possibility through my private Intentions.

And that is the difference. I don’t know if my wife has ever had a big, private Intention and if she has it is probably related to staying alive because she has lived with a chronic condition. I have never once asked her, not would I for fear that my reaction could interrupt her dream. Maybe she does not have one at all. All I know is that I had this massive personal Intention, in fact several of them and every time they have been fulfilled over the last 29 years she has, luckily for me, been there to savor the results.

So from my clinical data of one marriage, and the evidence of divorce statistics, I simply cannot support co-creation of Intentions. I think you are taking an unnecessary risk because you don’t both have to want the same thing to enjoy the same adventures along the journey.

I hope that helps in some way. Have a great week.




  1. LiveFulfilled says:

    Thanks Trevor…this article goes back to when loneliness occurs. I’ve always been taught you share with those you love..I’m also continuing to struggle with what I can share with friends And loved ones and she what’s best left silent. I’m keeping alot of things private until I create that balance.

  2. Mick says:

    Interesting post. When the personal intention or objective is so obviously consistent with a fulfilling relationship it seems harmless, and indeed wise, to keep it to oneself. If one wanted to be a lion-tamer (or crocodile hunter) or cave spelunker, mountain climber, MMA or Cage Match /Ultimate [?] Fighter, etc. wherein there’s a significant risk of early demise, it might be more important to get girlfriend / fiancee’ / wife on board, especially if there’s kids around. Broadly speaking I agree best to keep it private to fullest extent feasible, well-meaning partners can thwart progress [or crush the spirit] even with best of intentions.

  3. Kaija says:

    What to do when you’ve already shared the Intention? Some years ago I did share the details of my Intention with my spouse, because it is huge and would change both our lives considerably, and I wanted to make sure she was on board. Now I wonder if I’ve doomed the manifestation of it. Is it really possible to say to my spouse, “You know that Intention I shared? Forget about it. I’ve changed my mind.” What other course of action do I have?

    • Trevor says:

      Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions. The challenge with sharing intentions is that we can inadvertently attract interfering thoughts. The more detail we share, the more potential interference we have to deal with. In the book I tell the story of a girl hoping to get a job. It was a short term aim. She brought in interference and there was no time to fix it so she did not get the job. For the next job she will have learned to keep it to herself. Same for you… because it is a long term and huge (brilliant) intention you have time to use your imagination to overcome any interference. All you have to do is stop sharing the details and continue imagining privately.

  4. Dave says:

    Thank you for explaining what to do after disclosing intentions. I have shouted mine from the mountaintops to almost anyone who would listen! I will now train myself to better watch the words on my tongue, and just let my wonderful dreams manifest!

  5. Tim says:

    I have been reading the TSS, and I agree so much with it that I have been buying the book as graduation gifts. I in fact just this morning read the pages about sharing intentions, and with this I agree. For years I have had a screenplay I have wanted to write, but upon sharing it with others, they often want to help me with reality and let me down easy… I still have the passion for this after 25 years and I am taking hold of letting my new spouse that I plan to spend time everyday writing, but not to fill her in on my intention of what the final product is until I am done, satisified and have sent it off to editors, publisher, or producer that would buy the script.
    Biographies of great people have shown a limited amount of discussion in the creative process, until success is in hand.

  6. So what about business intentions and sharing them with your business partner? If the Intention is what business you are co-building, how does this work?

    Thank you so much for writing TSS. It is a life changing book for me.

    • Trevor says:

      An Intention is something deeply personal and large. It is a personal dream. I can guarantee that if you and your business partner drink a bottle of wine to lower your inhibitions and then answer honestly the question “Why am I in business?” you will have vastly different reasons. Both will be valid but the moment they are shared brings risk. When you mention business intentions I think you are talking more about goals… aims for the business which are no different than forecasts or budgets. Goals do not require the power of the Three Simple Steps to be achieved whereas Intentions need a little magic powder.

      A personal example. I got into business with a business partner and three investors. We shared all our goals, forecasts, budgets, P&L as is required. I never shared my Intention for the business because it “was to have built the most successful non employer company in US history, which made a positive difference in the lives of people suffering from rare diseases and ensured every patient anywhere in the world benefitted from a treatment got access to the treatment regardless of circumstances, and the business sold within ten years (it took 7) for >$100 million.”

      That was my Intention. Huge, ambitious even for me, and to have shared it would have caused all sorts of conflicts because my partner and the investors had their own reasons for being in business on that project including not wishing to sell it when it was making $15MM profit a year. They also might not have agreed to giving away treatments for free when people could not afford them or paying all copays over $30. I know for sure that they would never have believed a non employer business could succeed. The more you share of an Intention the more risk you create of inviting challenge and doubt and that makes you start second-guessing your intuition… and that in turn can be fatal to an Intention.

      Hope that helps.

  7. Cate says:

    I think this is true also with family and friends.

    I have just left a highly successful corporate job to take some time out and look at possibly doing my own business all I can say all I have got from people is mainly criticism and judgement. Its best to keep it all to yourself.

    • Trevor says:

      I think it happens more so with family and friends, Cate. Even when you are successful it does not stop. The secret is to not be against it, laugh at it, use the mentality shield and keep on keeping on. Kudos to you for deciding to take your life into your own hands. There is nothing so thrilling as having your own company and very few entrepreneurs could ever return to the corporate world of ego-nonsense and meetings hell.

      Also if you say “possibly” regarding doing your own business it is unlikely you will take the step. “Possibly” is one of those words like “Try,” that must never have a place in your vocabulary again.

      If you want your own business the trick is to react in a way that starts to bring the life-details together. As well as using the brain we have to do something. I recommend that budding entrepreneurs start by incorporating themselves. Don’t wait until you have the perfect plan and business name etc. Just get started. My first company was TGB International LLC. What happens is that you incorporate online for a few dollars and then a few days later you receive your corporate papers in the mail. Every day after that the first thing you see on your desk or kitchen table is your name in lights and with the fancy title of CEO. That does wonders for the brain and neurons and helps to expand the thoughts about the business. It is a more important reaction than spending the same money on a bunch of business books. A year after starting TGB I had a plan in place and changed the name to QOL Medical. Changing names is a matter of a few mouse clicks, but without the first step the second might never have happened, or if it did then certainly not as soon. Hope that helps, and don’t forget that no matter how little support you get from friends and family, there is community at Three Simple Steps of like-minded go-getters.


  8. Shannon says:

    I heard this same concept the other day about not sharing and it does go against what I have thought one should do with those that are close. The person advised not to announce your intention of loosing weight for example because the feedback, the support the encouragement from family and friends seems to be enough to make you NOT loose the weight. What comes back at you from family and friends after sharing “your news” works the opposite on you to keep you from the weight loss. Amazing.

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