What is a vision? We spend a lot of time listening to a lot of hot air from a lot of different people about their “visions for the future”, “vision for Iraq”, whatever. Before we start to talk about vision, we need to talk about a few other topics.
Awful word, huh? That word makes my skin crawl. It spews notions of passive aggressive liberal principals of mindless Kum-Ba-Yah-commune-building-campfire-kool-aid-drinking-insanity. Not that I have anything wrong with liberals. I’ve been accused on more than one occasion to perpetuate liberal agendas. How often are consensus driven ideas drilled into your skull? A lot, I’m guessing. Boss says, “Client X doesn’t like iPhones. Don’t talk about iPhones in front of client X. You know what, let’s be safe and not talk about iPhones in front of any client that doesn’t already have them.” Too often, we start to let this shape our worldview negatively and begin to actually believe the group think that’s taking place in our organizations. Why? When did we become wussies? Your high school bully would have a freaking hay day with your pathetic ass today.
Let’s look at another word I don’t like.
How many people have heard someone say, “All things in Moderation, including Moderation.” How many times have I said that? Doesn’t that seem stupid to you? I hate advice. I give people too much of it. People give me too much of it. Why do we embrace this concept that says you can’t do things that probably aren’t good for you if you do it too much, but if you do it a little bit, it’s okay? Why? Moderation to me is what makes us victims of our own hedonism. Think about that for a second. Wait, did he just call me a Hedonist? That SOB. Look, last I checked, unless you are wearing some sort of great human costume, you’re no Romulan. We are beings of pleasure seeking. Moderation is the mental chastity belt of humanity. Moderation. Don’t like it.
Here’s another one I don’t like.
I want to love this word in the very depths of my being. What’s not to love? Limitless – no boundaries. Your opportunities are limitless. Do whatever you please. Be the degenerate you want to be. When you tell someone that their options are “Limitless”, you are a damn liar. You know as well as any one else that there are limits. Gravity, Politics, Taxes, Social Norms, whatever. Limitless is a concept that allows us to forever postulate the what if and never solidify an opinion about something. College taught me a few things and continues to teach me a few things. You can’t take yourself seriously if you don’t start to draw some conclusions. Come up with an idea within the limits you or someone or nature or whatever has imposed on you. Embrace that idea. Experience the accomplishment.
Okay, we’ve talked about 3 words I don’t like. So negative, so negative. Lets move on to words I do like.
That word makes me happy. It implies responsibility, invisible hand market forces, wealth, control and destiny shaping. I know, you want what I’m smoking, right? When was the last time you actually owned something? Your house probably has a mortgage that’s more than it’s worth. You don’t own that. Your kids? You don’t own them. They own you, and don’t forget it. Your ideas? Yes, your ideas. Those are yours. Do you ever just sit there and think about your ideas and drift off into la-la land. I mean, really drift. The phone’s ringing, wife’s yelling, cars crashing outside and you are just imaging the world according to your ideas. Perfectly sober and lucid human beings have ideas, dreams, concepts – whatever. We dwell and imagine. We own that. Nobody can take that away from us. We own our ideas.
Here’s another one I like.
When your boss comes to you and tells you that we need to work out a deal that is “amicable for everyone”, do you really get excited about that? Human beings are selfish creatures. We don’t care about anyone else until we’re conditioned to do so or have some sort of paternal/maternal instinct kick in. We are passionate creatures by nature, driven by that which makes us happy. Thousands of years of philosophy keeps coming to this conclusion over and over again. Maybe your passion is playing video games until 4 in the morning or trying every flavor of sorbet until you’ve found your favorite. We have passion for something.
I eat my words. A lot. I’ll probably be eating my words not too long from now. Greg, you idiot, what does any of this have to do with anything? Humility. Does anyone else get a little chill at this word? This is one of those words that I think we all fear a little bit. There’s something in our core that tells us that having Humility is admitting to failure. Why? Why is being honest a failure? Where did we go so wrong? Here’s how I see Humility. I equate it to growth. New information is passed to us constantly. We grow. We change our views on things. Roll with it. Roll with others when they backtrack. Learn from their backtracking. Respect it.
What defines who we are? Did anyone ever say, ‘Gee, that Greg guy sure is good at driving consensus, knows what moderation is all about and has a real sense of limitlessness – he must be a visionary!‘ No, of course not! That’s how you describe someone who doesn’t care, wants to be under the radar and live with the delusion that they can do anything.
Ownership. Passion. Humility.
These are the values of a person who has Vision. A person who takes risks. Someone who gets out of bed in the morning and can’t wait to get to work on their passion. Someone who takes responsibility for fulfilling their dreams. Someone who can laugh and learn from their failures.
Visions are Owned
You can’t have a vision unless you own it. If your ‘vision’ is a result of succumbing to the opine of your peers and partners, it’s not your vision. Stop calling it yours. Stop calling it a vision. Vision is owned and operated by you. Just you. You can lead others to support your vision, even ‘see’ your vision. But you cannot transfer ownership of it. It lives in you. You made it, you either give it life or you sentence it to death.
Isn’t it a beautiful thing? It’s yours, after all. Now run with it.