Intention without action means Jack!

Picture this: It’s a cracking Christmas Day in the beautiful ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’, two brother-in-laws are sitting outside chatting about issues great and small over a couple of cold beers on their deck (as one does in NZ). The topic of a gorgeous stretch of beach in Abel Tasman going up for private sale comes up. Like most talking about such affairs, they both agree that it isn’t right. In my mind I can picture them saying something like: “it just aint right that this beautiful land of ours can be carved up and sold off to the highest bidders.” Guy 1: How fucken great would it be if we could buy it ourselves? Guy 2: Yea right mate, where on earth would we get that kind of coin, I can tell you I definitely don’t have a spare 2 mil lying around?! Guy 1: Yea but imagine if we could raise the money, you know, get a bunch of donations and buy the land back for NZ, take a stand, show that we can’t be bought?... *They both simultaneously take a sip from their beers and ponder what a great idea this is, shame it would never work…

Fast forward to today and this ‘chat’ over a couple of beers on Christmas Day has done just this. After these lads decided to walk-the-walk and turn their talk into action, their ‘Give-A-Little’ Campaign has seen over 40,000 New Zealanders contribute to raise close to 2 million dollars in no more than a couple of months. A stunning piece of NZ will no longer be owned by private or foreign investors, a gift from the people of NZ, to the people of NZ.

Is it just me, or is this not fucken brilliant? Not only the fact that this is a collective effort of epic proportions, but more so what has been achieved from ‘shooting the breeze’ over a couple of cold ones – turning intent into action and finishing up with an amazing WIN for the little guys. It makes me incredibly proud to be a kiwi and gives me all kinds of warm fuzzies over the beautiful result that collective power can achieve.

Have you ever got together with friends and family and complained about the state of the world, all of the issues great and small? Of course you have, we all have (some more than others). But here’s the next question (which you will most definitely not like) – what have you actually DONE about these gripes? What have you personally gone out of your way to do about the daily issues of the world that cause you frustration? Let me guess? NOTHING. Right? Now don’t be offended or get your panties in a twist, most of us are exactly the same.

Note: If you are one of those truly wonderful human beings, who is constantly giving and doing something for others and the world, let me be the first to say – well done, keep doing what you’re doing, you ARE making a difference. You can stop reading here; but just for your efforts, here is a  picture of a box full of gorgeous puppies - you earned it!

But for the rest of you, carry on reading.

So why aren't we doing anything? We are all fairly decent human beings for the most part and I am sure we all have brilliant, beautiful well-meaning intentions, right?... Well here is an ugly truth (which I have referred to before), if your intentions remain just that – intentions – then I can guarantee they will only ever have ZERO impact! There are no ifs, buts or maybes. Intention without action means Jack. Harsh, but true. Though I bet that when these guys pulled off this incredible feat there were a few people out there who said something along the lines of: “they bet me to it, I was SO thinking about doing that…” Well you know what, let’s be honest – you didn’t and you weren’t going to. Or let’s say you did have this thought BUT you did nothing about it – so your intention, no matter how noble, still means diddly-squat I’m afraid. But like I said, don’t feel bad because we all do it. At some stage or another we all have thoughts, ideas, the best of intentions, BUT then life just kind of, you know, gets in the way…

We get distracted. Life has been set up to distract us, to drown out that quiet little voice that gently whispers – there has to be more to life, you are here to make a difference… TV, commercials, money, success, social media, consumerism, blah blah blah – everything tells us that to be successful in this life we need to work hard to accumulate more and more things. It is all about what we can GET, not what we can GIVE. We drown out that voice, ideas, those good intentions in the white noise of distractions and the never ending high-speed pursuit of happiness that only ever ends in a twisted mess of metal, shattered glass, broken dreams and forgotten aspirations…

But surely if we can collectively achieve such great feats through giving and working together it would be encouraged right? WRONG. You will not find it advertised in any magazines, commercials, reality TV, it is not put to the masses quite simply because it is not equitable. No one makes money if we all work together to get shit done, so why would they (“they” – you know, the big dawg, the MAN, the ones at the top) want to promote it?

But get this, while the media may not promote or advertise the notion of collectively giving - we have also gone and fooled ourselves. We have set volunteer work or helping others on this strange sort of pedestal that is out of reach to the likes of you and me. I mean, of course there are thousands of people fighting the good fight for many a cause, but they can’t be like me and you?... Come on, those sorts of people are the do-gooders, the living saints, the sort of people that really have their life together; but me and you we are just not those ‘sorts’ of people, right?...

 Well this is the lie we tell ourselves anyway: "I really want to make a difference, but…"
-          I just don’t have time to volunteer
-          I can barely pay my bills so I can’t be expected to give to anybody
-          What has the world ever done for me?
-          I’m no Ghandi or Mother Theresa…

We create excuse upon excuse as to why we can’t personally be the ones to do anything about these issues. But why do we tell ourselves this, we want to do the right thing, don’t we?... Well it is quite simple really. It is so much easier to do nothing, than to do something. Then the media caught wind of this apathy and ran with it; they have tried to ‘alleviate’ this feeling of wanting to help, by convincing us that if we REALLY want to do something – that posting a few motivational quotes or selfies with a tagline that says something along the lines of “just be the best you, you can be” is enough to make a difference. 


The media is doing everything to keep our gaze on the surface, to keep us from looking too deeply inwards, let alone even thinking about turning our gaze outwards. The fact is, all the motivational quotes in the world will not save a piece of land, clean the oceans or feed the poor. Sorry if I just burst your bubble here. And don’t get me wrong – I love a good inspirational quote, I have even been known to post the odd selfie or two, and while this may make me feel good for a second, I am under no illusion that it has any larger impact whatsoever on the state of the world. I am also all for loving yourself first (coming from someone who is only just starting to LIKE herself), because only when we are happy in ourselves can we start to look outwards and give back to others.

But THIS is the crucial next step that the majority of us are missing – GIVING back! SO why am I sounding all high and mighty all of a sudden? Ha. Not even close. I have been doing A LOT of introspection lately (well nothing new there) and the thing is, like the rest of you, I have always held a lot of well-meaning intentions: I want to help others, I want to make a difference, I care about the earth… And you know what I have done with all of these good intentions? Jack-fucken-shit, that’s what. I have been so entwined in my own pursuit of chasing success and my limited version of happiness that I have barely stopped to look outward, let alone truly GIVE.

Only now am I starting to understand that a beautiful space opens up in and around our being when we finally turn our gaze outwards – it is as close to magic as we can get. Yes, starting to have an honest relationship with myself first and facing all of my demons (well most of them I think) has allowed me this certain clarity of vision – so the media is kind of right “you cannot love anybody else until you first love yourself”, but it is what comes AFTER this point that is important. For so long I have been frustrated being a ‘Jack of All Trades and Master of None’ and having all of these good intentions and not knowing what to do about them. It kept me frozen (inaction is the plague of our society). Then I realized, for fuck sake Tash, do something, do anything, whatever comes your way – just do it! So, since the New Year I have made a promise to myself that whatever random thing comes my way, no matter what it is – if I can contribute or help in some small way, shape or form, I will.
  • Someone put a post on facebook about needing help writing their website: hey, I am an ok writer, I have some time, I can whip something up…
  • A group of ladies here wanted some cooking classes: Hey, I know a Chef, I can get them in touch and set that up.
  • A friend is starting a makeup business and needed some photos taken of her work: I have a good camera and can take a half-decent photo, sure why not?
  • A group of Expats organised to get together to feed the homeless: I am not doing anything; I can cook – Bob’s your Uncle!

You get the picture. I am not saying this to blow my own trumpet. Like I said, I have been a pretty shitty human at many times during my past, chasing my selfish pursuits (and/or self-destruction). I just want to show that anybody and everybody is in a position where we can give something. OK, we may not all manage to raise 2mil to help buy a piece of land (though it does show us it is possible), but seriously, if these blokes can rustle up 40,000 fellow New Zealanders to get behind a project to keep a pristine piece of land conserved for all of New Zealand to enjoy, I have to believe that SURELY we can all do something, great or small. And you know what, life is made up of all the beautiful small moments; so why not be the helping hand, the listening ear, the person who picks up 10 pieces of rubbish every time they go for a walk or the Mum who bakes kick-ass muffins for pre-school? What about your professional skills: are you a photographer, web-designer, financier, restauranteur? What have you done for free lately just to help someone or the community out? Imagine what we could achieve if we all collectively donated just an hour of our time a week, a month, whatever, just to give back – I get the effervescent, can’t sit still, kind of excited feeling just thinking about it. The ripple caused by the giving stones we throw go so much further than we can ever imagine.

Which is exactly what a couple of blokes, chatting over beers on their deck just showed the world – Cheers to you guys!!

Note: So did this hit a nerve, did it elicit any kind of reaction from you? Great. Now don’t just let that sit there, what are you going to do with it?!

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