Your vision of the future

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Without Vision You Are Flying Blind

This is a guest post from Lodewijk van den Broek, author of How to be an original. If you enjoy this post, check out his site.

Vision without action is a daydream
Action without vision is a nightmare
– Japanese proverb

Having lost sight of our objectives
we redoubled our efforts
– Old adage

vision_of_the_futureHaving a vision of the future is absolutely necessary if you want work actively towards something that we want to achieve. Having a vision of a desired future state serves a couple of purposes:

It provides the "first" creation
Everything is created twice, first in the mind, then in reality (see Covey's habit 2; Begin with the end in mind)

It invokes subconscious processes that assist in the recognition of helpful opportunities
Your mind is filtering the enormous input from your sensory system all the time. We influence these filters by creating a vision.

It puts a marker in your personal timeline somewhere in the future (you can decide when)
By visualizing a future state where you have achieved your objective, is a process that helps you in firming your belief in your success.

It helps you recognize the fact that you have reached what you aimed for
We often get so occupied in the activity, that we overshoot our initial objective. And often we continue after that, recognizing when you have reached your objective is essential.

The Japanese already had the insight that vision is important, but with the absence of action… Well, keep on dreaming buddy! Although they do value a dreamer higher than someone from the other end of the spectrum.

Action without vision.
This sounds stupid right? Yet it's all around us. Worse still, often it is even encouraged and rewarded. When there's an enormous amount of work to be done on something, the "visionaries" will start by thinking and imagining what the desired end-result should be. The "actionables" pull up their sleeves and start to work on the obvious first tasks at hand. And in the meantime they start to look disgruntled towards the visionaries, them lazy bums!

In the UK there's a nice series on television that shows this at work, it's called Property Ladder. In this show amateurs (or wannabe professionals) are followed during the development of a property. You can really see the difference between the two kinds of people. The actionables start off as real Tasmanian devils as soon as they get the keys. Halfway through the work however they find out that the budget and the time is not going to last by far. The visionaries on the other hand define an objective (usually to sell the property with a profit), and work towards that goal. Both have setbacks and trouble, both have to deal with unreliable contractors and so on. But the way they deal with it makes all the difference.

Losing the connection
Even when we have a clear vision, we sometimes get so caught up in our work, that we lose sight of our objectives, or our vision. We are so busy doing the work, that we don't spend time to focus on our objectives, and gradually they fade towards the back of your mind. You do feel that you're not getting there, but it's just too busy to not keep on working.
And we tell ourselves: Maybe if I just try harder… If I try harder I should get there someday, right?

If we lose sight of our objective, we will never get "there" as a result of our deliberate intention. And if you double your efforts, you'll only NOT get "there" twice as fast. So besides having a vision, we also have to make sure we keep the connection to our vision.

Keeping in touch with our objectives
It is in our human nature to lose the connection with our objectives. It is because of our conscious mind that we are able to imagine, and that we can exercise our power of choice. But as far as our brain concerns, the subconscious still governs more than 90% of our activities. It's because of this that we need to consciously decide to plan moments to reconnect to our vision and our objectives. We need to check if we're still on the right track, and make adjustments if necessary.

So every now and then, take some time to review your vision and your objectives. Visualize them again, this will help you recognize if you are on the right track, and at the same time firm your inner creation and your belief in success. But don't linger in this state too long, listen to Will Rogers:

Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there!
– Will Rogers

Lodewijk is author of How to be an original, a blog about personal development, goal-setting, productivity, and authenticity. Check his site, or subscribe to his RSS-feed, if you want to join him on his quest for authentic greatness.


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