Vision and Life

There is a problem with reality. It lies not in the things which we see which are, at best, insufficient to truly determine “what is really out there”, but in the things we fail to see. The things we don’t understand.

Take something as ‘simple’ as vision. And, I am not talking about the vision you experience every time you use yours eyes, because that is definitely not simple. What I am talking about is the kind of thing CEOs routinely trot out every time they make a speech because they want to be branded as “having vision”. I am talking about the thing you hear every time someone makes a speech about some ideal. They bring out “vision” as something that is being created, followed, structured out of their words and the efforts of their subordinates.

There is nothing simple about this kind of vision either. This kind of vision, this ability to ‘see’ is constructed out of things we don’t see. It is made up of the direction we head towards, for example. Which is to say that it is formed of our ability to see past our limitations and notice the things that exist in the gaps of our world.

Our focus and motivation are formed from our sense of our vision and our mission. The "vision" thing is something we admire because we understand its value. We strive to develop it without really understanding what it is. Having a "vision" means seeing possibilities beyond anyone else's experience. To do that we need to understand who we are, what we strive for, why. What we are prepared to give up in order to attain it. Why. What values drive us. Why. What we believe in. Why. Now you see why it's not easy, why we choose the platitudes over the reality and choose wishful thinking over hard work. The 'work' required of us is emotionally painful.

We are designed by evolution to avoid pain of all kinds and shy away from discomfort. Our entire internal system of motivation is based upon this exact thing. We can’t even manage the external world without framing it in a comfort vs discomfort moment.

This makes ‘vision’ then difficult to understand. Harder still to maintain. Yet, if we want to truly feel that our life is our own, that we have some sort of control over who we are, how the world affects us, how we integrate ourself into the world, how we make choices that lead to decisions that lead to actions, we have to have some sort of ‘vision’.

If you do find yourself at a loss to explain what your vision is, there are three question you can use to help guide you:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you want?
  • What are you prepared to sacrifice in order to get it?

That’s it. Take these three, add a generous sprinkling of honesty with yourself. Stir well, allow to percolate and then sample for taste. Some answers do produce pretty bitter results. But then, again, that is to be expected. We only ever get somewhere better by realizing the value of our now, to us.

Intentional book by David Amerland