Intention vs Expectation ~ Their difference may be their connection.

As I write this, my intention is to share something valuable and insightful that you will easily want to share.

And yet

“the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry” – Robert Burns, To A Mouse (1786)

In the poem by Robert Burns, he is essentially crafting an apology to a mouse who’s home he destroyed while ploughing his field. From the sounds of it, he never expected to hurt the mouse or even see the mouse. He just intended to prepare his field.

But what if he could have expected it?


Intention is unfortunately one of those words that is defined by using the word in the definition; kinda crazy. At it’s core, I believe intentions are important in dreaming up the life that we want to have and the goals we set out to accomplish. And even where intentions are great, they alone may leave us with feelings of inadequacy and even limit our potential.


Expectation is a strong belief that something will happen or become true. Expectation allows us to dream up the possible scenarios and decide which we will hold on to. Having good expectation will also allow us to assume likely outcomes and prepare for them.

So what does this all mean?

Consider if you will, intention is like purpose. This is the thing that you set out for and have designed a path to achieve. Intention is the thing you seriously want. Expectation is like prospecting. It is the consideration of what might happen followed by the belief that it is possible. Good expectations will weigh probability against possibility. A solid plan will take purpose and create a plan against the prospect of possibility and probability…

Purpose… Plan… Prospect… Possibility… Probability…

Yup… that’s a lot of Ps.

And if the two become one?

I believe, wherever there is intention, there should also be expectation.

Thomas Edison set out, once upon a time, to invent the light bulb. I can imagine that when he decided to attempt the light bulb he expected that it would require a lot of trial and error. I’m not sure that expected ten thousand attempts but he was prepared to try again. I imagine he also expected to succeed.

I wonder if he could have expected how widespread his efforts would be in changing the culture of the world.

What would have happened if he wasn’t connected to his purpose when he met successive failed attempts. Maybe we wouldn’t have had the light bulb yet. Or maybe I would just be using someone else’s name in this example :).

What does this all mean for you and I?

When we couple our intentions with solid expectation we can create a better likelihood of success and a reduced likelihood of frustration. It is such a good feeling when you know things might happen and you plan for them. When you do, somehow it all becomes a little less frustrating and you can still see your intentions through.

Allow me to hit those Ps again…

Purpose… Plan… Prospect… Possibility… Probability…



Let’s be better; together,




I am Rashad. I'm an entrepreneur with over 15 years of cultivating relationships, chasing ideas, and over delivering on promises. I want to share some of the things I've learned along the way with you. Hopefully, it will inspire you to define and achieve your personal definition of success.