Book review: ‘Intent’ explores core of being human

‘Intent’ by Etsko Schuitema, is a self-help book. It addresses the issue of intent versus action. It explores the core of being human.

It delves into the ideas of happiness, contentment, gratitude, generosity, and courage.

The book opens with the message that money is not the priority for being happy. It is a two-way road. Money fulfills desires and wants, but an excess or less of it will breed frustration.

Referring to money, Schuitema says:

“The mistress called Significance is indeed a faithless trollop.”

The maturation of intent doesn’t require privilege, wealth, or university degree. Maturation comes with experience.

The aim of the book is to discuss the concept of ‘elusive genuineness.’ It talks of the rough diamond which isn’t cut and polished but is genuine. On the other hand is the shiny, perfect diamond that has no flaw, hence it is boring.

The two intentions discussed in the book are to give and to take. Take an example of the case of an infant. When it comes into this world, it demands complete attention. It is here to take.

Similarly, when death engulfs us, we give away all that we had or death takes away everything from us.

To quote from the book:

‘The difference in being taken from or giving lies in intent.’

Next comes the concept of the self and the other.

The self is here to serve the other. Again the example of an adult and a child is quoted. The adult is the mature one, hence he/she takes care of the child. This is linked to responsibility. The child has no responsibility. He is solely under the care of the mother.

The child will act according to need and the adult will then act according to what is fair or unfair.

The concept of justice will be introduced here. The child needs to know where he/she is wrong and punished accordingly and vice versa rewarded upon acting correctly.

The child will act before he reflects, but the adult will reflect before he acts. In a workplace, if an employee is constantly trying to meet targets but feels his work isn’t being appreciated by the Boss, then he/she needs to self-reflect on their behavior to see they are only over reacting.

Another perspective on self-reflection is when you completely give your self-worth to your colleagues and react to their apparent lack of recognition of yourself. In doing this, you have played the part of both antagonist and defendant.

The issues of responsibility and accountability cannot be separated from that of reflectiveness. How? Read the book to find out.

There are two types of intentions; malevolent and benevolent intentions. The malevolent intention is immature, hostile, ignorant, and intolerant. It is negative. Benevolent is everything positive.

Inward reflection is your inner dialogue which is distrustful, is based on greed and expedience. Outward reflection, on the other hand, is of trust and courage and breeds generosity and gratitude.

Gratitude looks to the past whilst trust to the future. To conclude, just go with the ebb and flow of life. Don’t try to control your life. Be the rhythm you want to be.

Beenish Mahmood has a double Master's in English Literature with almost a decade of experience in magazine journalism. She is passionate about South Asian Fiction and environmental issues. She can be reached through email at