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Karen Maleck-Whiteley: The power of intention -- think like a child

Live well, stress less

Posted: October 1, 2009 9:41 p.m.
Updated: October 2, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Once, while we were on vacation in Walt Disney World, my son showed us all the true power of intention.

We were nearing the end of our stay and were on the boardwalk.

Our then 10-year-old Kyle had been eyeing the carnival games for a couple of days, and we had so far successfully managed to steer him away.

That evening, he announced: "I'm going to do the ball toss."

On cue, his father and I played the part most parents play - the voice of reality. I asked Kyle if he truly wanted to spend six dollars - which was most of the money he had left - on only two chances to get a softball into a large old-fashioned milk can.

His dad said "I know it looks easy, but it's really hard to get that ball in." I echoed that and reinforced it by saying, "Lots of people just lose their money on these things, most people who try it win nothing. That's what they're counting on."

But Kyle was having none of it. He was adamant. "I don't care. I'm going to do it. I'm going to win that big stuffed lobster." Really.
All this was for a large stuffed lobster.

Kyle confidently stepped up to the booth and told the attendant, "I'm REALLY good at this."

We stood behind him and smiled at each other and the attendant, thinking, "Isn't that cute," since, to the best of our knowledge, he had never even tried anything like this game before.

The attendant took his money, and gave him two large, white softballs.

He picked one up, took aim at the milk can, and tossed the ball.

We all held our breath and watched as the ball arced beautifully towards the can. We then stood in stunned silence as the ball made a satisfying "Thwunk" as it flew right into the can.

No rim, no bounce, just straight into the center of the hole.

Kyle said "I TOLD you I was good at this." He carried the giant lobster away proudly, and had to hold it all they way home on the plane.

What strikes me most now when I think about this experience, is how positive he was that he would get that ball in, and how positive we were that he would not. He KNEW he was going to do it.

There was no other possibility in his mind.

We, on the other hand, perfectly represented the way the world tries to squash our dreams and goals.

Kyle fully believed that there was no gamble, that this was a completely solid bet, and he held strong to his belief, even in the face of the two most influential people in his life telling him otherwise.

That is the epitome of intention, and we know that people who think like this are much more likely to achieve their goals in life.

How many of us once had a goal, a dream or a change we KNEW for a fact we could accomplish, even though we had no past track record or proof we could do it?

What was one of yours? You might have to reach back into childhood to recall one, but I guarantee it is there.

Most of us have lost that absolute "knowing" in the face of all of those voices in the world telling us how hard it will be, how so many people fail, how it might happen for some other lucky soul but probably not for you, or asking things like, "What makes you think you can do this?"

I believe this state - this ability to have total faith in ourselves, our intentions, and our planned outcomes - is innate. It just gets trained out of us like so many things.

That quiet voice of absolute belief gets drowned out by the cacophony of all the voices of "reality" around us, so much so that we begin to hear them inside our own heads.

We even start to tell ourselves these same negative things whenever we think about the goal or dream. We brainwash ourselves right out of effective intention and into, "Oh well, I guess it wasn't meant to be." We become adults who "face reality."

So how do we get back to true intention and faith in ourselves?

Start by being a little childish about your dream.

Reconnect with the way you thought when you were young and didn't know any better.

Think about your goal and see how you feel about it. Be honest.

Do you stubbornly believe you can do it? If so, great.

If not, then ask yourself this set of questions: "Is this the most useful belief I can have about this?"

"Who do I want to listen to about my goal?"

"What beliefs and thoughts will most help me achieve this?"

It is not useful to believe you cannot really accomplish something that you want. It is not useful to listen to people and media who tell you that you are crazy, or that you should compromise, if what you really want is to do this thing.

It is not useful to let negative thoughts repeat over and over in your head when you think about or work on your plan.

Deciding who you want to listen to, choosing to counteract the negative thoughts when you hear them, and visualizing your goal as already accomplished can help you reawaken your true intention ability.

Being stubborn like Kyle was, and believing in yourself no matter what works.

You may not always get your ball in the milk can on the first try, but continued belief combined with purposeful action will eventually get you your own big stuffed lobster.

Karen Maleck-Whiteley is a certified hypnotherapist, coach, speaker and author. Karen is also the co-owner of Balance Point Spa in Santa Clarita.

If you would like more information or help with getting your intention or inner child back, you can contact Karen at (661) 252-0650, or send an e-mail to

Find out more by visiting,,, or www.Five4Me/ (free podcasts).


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