INTENT: Reviews & Resources


INTENT was a product of the investigations Etsko, born into a mining family himself, made in South African coal mines in the 1980’s: In the possibly toughest working conditions of the Earth, what is it that keeps worker committed and going? The mine was the grittiest lab possible to observe human conditions, motive and behavior. The insights that emerged from that deep core of Earth are also insights that map over the deep, dark and gritty realms of the Self and Heart. They are as relevant to commitment in marriages and businesses, as of the worker-leader commitment in coal mines.

The lessons in human motive, commitment, maturity and essence that are shared in this book allow one to masterfully walk through the deepest and the darkest realm, only to bring up the fire of coal and the perseverance of the diamond.

Bringing together the author’s outer experience in the dark realms of coal mines, and the inner experience in the world of self search and exploration, INTENT is a fitting read for businesses, wayfarers, and households. Free from obscure idiom and lore, this is a book that appeals to the core of being human: the carbon and coal of practice that yield the many-splendid forms of Life in the realm of heart as they do in the realm of biological Earth.

— a Na’layn Publications review

I have been interested in the issue of human growth since I was an adolescent and have read a number of books on the topic including those from the fields of psychology, holistic medicine and spirituality.

Though some of the books were more useful than others, no other book has had as profound an effect on my life as Intent by Etsko Schuitema.

In Intent, Etsko Schuitema integrates surgical psychological insights with ancient spiritual wisdom and presents them to us in contemporary language.

He convincingly demonstrates that one way to view the issues of maturity, growth and fruition in human beings is to view them as functions of our intent. Furthermore, he demonstrates that intent can only function in two ways – the intent to get or the intent to give unconditionally. He goes on to explain how intent develops through different phases of our lives. Most importantly, he shows us how it is intent that accounts both for our misery or contentment and our mediocrity or excellence.

The most uplifting aspect of the book is that it liberates us from mainstream win-lose, dog-eat-dog ideology, which is the cause of much of the damage and misery we suffer individually and collectively as a species. Etsko Schuitema very persuasively argues that the intent to serve unconditionally benefits not just others around us, but it also gives us what we all aspire for – security, power, fulfillment and harmony. And it makes us stellar human beings. As such, the book rescues unconditional giving from the fists of the sanctimonious and presents it to us a practical and rational idea to embrace for our own selves.

The book argues that it is possible for anyone to achieve excellence and contentment as they are a function of intent, not of money, resources, education, gender, race or any other category or of anyone else! This means you can be anyone, anywhere and you can transform yourself and your life; you don’t have to wait for or depend on anything or anyone. In this respect it is truly empowering and transformative.

Intent persuades you to give attention to what lies in your hands, what you can contribute, what you can do. It helps you to see problems as opportunities to grow. It transforms life from a series of relationships and situations that you previously experienced as painful, to a fascinating journey into your own self.
Intent provides a simple yet powerful tool – the deliberate maturation of our own intent – that we can apply to help us achieve excellence and find peace.

I apply this one surgical tool in almost all arenas of life to diagnose situations and relationships and to decide how to act correctly. I have used this tool to (1) transform personal relationships fraught with conflict and pain; (2) decide what work to do and how best to do it; (3) bring out the best in people who report to me; (4) respond to changes, devastating illnesses and loss; and (5) parent my child. In other words, the teachings of this book guide me in every moment of my life, in my aspirations to grow and be at peace with myself, others and Existence.

If understood and applied correctly, the ideas of this book have the potential to set your free and raise you to the pinnacle of existence.

— Shahbano Aliani



Etsko is the Gordon Ramsey of personal transformation: tough-loving, hard-hitting, and unaverse to putting one in place with a sharp and clear word, Etsko pulls no punches and cuts to the heart of the matter: an unforgiving sport that he is often later thanked for.

— a reader