The Path to Ruin is NOT Paved with Good Intentions


1/ The path to ruin is NOT paved with good intentions. It is paved with bad execution.

2/ The meme about the path to ruin being paved with good intentions is one of the most insidious memes out there. Because it prevents people from acting on their good intentions. Worse, it sometimes convinces them to act on their bad intentions.

3/ But what’s really unfortunate about the meme is that it takes our focus away from what’s really lacking: execution.The truth is that reality does not care about your intentions. It cares about your execution.

4/ Things like intentions, dreams and hopes; all of these belong to the language of human communication. They will help you get your thoughts across to other people and maybe scale your effort that way. But ultimately, execution is the only language that reality understands.

5/ Many good things in the world came about because of both, good intentions and good execution. Most of the bad things came about because of either bad intentions or bad execution. (Unfortunately, many of the bad intentioned efforts were executed rather effectively!)

6/ So why does this myth persist? I think what happens is, when we start to act on our good intentions, we feel really good about ourselves. It even gives us a sense of being entitled to rewards, simply because we started acting on those good intentions.

7/ This unfortunately makes us disregard the need to focus on improving our execution. So we end up with many well intentioned efforts that falter.

8/ Add to that the fact that good things are usually a lot harder to execute on than bad things. That’s one of the reasons why they are considered to be good – they are harder and rarer as a result!

9/ If at all, executing on good intentions usually requires a higher level of execution effort than acting on bad intentions.

10/ So, if your good intentions lead to ruin (or simply run into difficulties), don’t blame the intention. Look for where your execution went wrong. The path to ruin is paved with bad execution.