The Intention – Outcome Matrix

You know that moment when you discover something as if for the first time? You know when it really lands and makes sense? That was me today, when I came across the Intention – Outcome Matrix. As someone who is big on accountability and taking ownership for their life, I decided to explore it more and see what is more important – the intention or the outcome?


What is the Intention – Outcome Matrix?

The Intention – Outcome Matrix is a matrix that is used in research to describe different types of outcomes. As you can see by the image below, it has four axes that relates to each of the quadrants.

As you can see by the image, the four axes are –

  • Intended – the intention was intended,
  • Unintended – the intention was not intended,
  • Positive Outcome – an outcome that in the positive interest of the person, and
  • Negative Outcome – an outcome that does not serve the interest of the person.


What is an Intention?

The are many definitions of an intention including –

  • “the thing that you plan to do or achieve: an aim or purpose” ~
  • “a thing intended: an aim or plan” ~ Google and Oxford Dictionaries
  • “an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result” ~
  • “Your intentions create your reality.” ~ Wayne Dyer

I think of an intention as a way of BEing or “I Am” statement based on your values – who we are on our deepest level.


What is an Outcome?

The definitions of an outcome include –


What Matters – the Intention or the Outcome?

Intentions and outcomes both matter. Which matters more – depends on the context. For example – if you were looking at the intention and outcome in relation to possible harm – the outcome would matter more as you can do more harm.

As you can see by the above definitions – the intention is the BEFORE, whilst an outcome is the AFTER – result or consequence. If we refer back to the Intention – Outcome Matrix, you can see on one side you have a positive outcome and one a negative. The following image, shows this.

Living In Alignment Using the Intention – Outcome Matrix

One way you can use the intention – outcome matrix to start living in alignment with your dreams is to align your intentions and outcomes when you are planning. For example – identify what you would like to happen, take action and then look at the results you achieved. Living in alignment would look like –

Over to You…

I hope this post has given you some insight in to the intention – outcome matrix and how you can use it in your life. What do you think is more important, the intention or the outcome? Feel free to share your thoughts or questions in the comments section below! Also – remember someone who is living responsibility and taking ownership of their life, also learns from negative outcomes (and therefore empowers themselves by living above the line) 🙂


If I can help out in any way, please let me know. Also, if you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heartwhy not join our Toolkit?


Reference –

Stibe, A., & Cugelman, B. (2016). Persuasive Backfiring: When Behavior Change Interventions Trigger Unintended Negative Outcomes. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 65–77.

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