Continuing our series on building a house of business, let’s take up the first crucial factor, vision, in detail.
Without vision, no house—nor business or anything else for that matter—gets built. An analogy would be riding a carousel. There’s a lot of movement, but it’s just going around and around in the same place, and the way in is the same as the way out. You’re really going nowhere. It’s the vision that breaks you free of such a cycle.
A vision is needed for an individual, a city, a company, or a nation. This has been known forever. Back as far as the Old Testament, there is a quote: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
Obtaining a Vision
So how do you get a vision? Does it just come overnight? Do you have to fight for it? Do you sit and meditate for weeks, or punish yourself, or take some other drastic action?
I think people make it more complicated than it is. All things are simple, and so is a vision. That doesn’t mean that the execution of a vision is simple—it usually isn’t—but the vision itself is. And anyone can have a vision! Some think that it’s only the “super-intellectuals” who can have a vision, and the rest of us must follow. That’s ridiculous. Every human being has the potential for vision and should have a vision for their life.
As I’ve said many times, we all began life as winners, as a sperm that won a contest against millions of others. To that degree at least, we’re already ahead. But since sperm carries part of our genetic code, let’s ask the question: are there factors in genetic code that limit our capacity to have a certain kind of vision? To some degree, yes. If your vision includes being considerably taller than you are, it probably won’t happen. Or, having a different colored skin, or having blue eyes while yours are brown. To some degree, then, we’re limited by our own DNA, by our physical capacity and our natural gifts.
A serious challenge can also be presented by birthplace. A child born in Syria, in the Congo, or a concentration camp, is going to start out with considerable disadvantages in comparison to a child born in the U.S. or another first world country, as regards food, education, and other basics.
Gifted vs. Hard-Working
The question then comes back to, how limited are we at the beginning as regards the vision we can have? Not everyone is born a Mozart, or a Michael Jordan. If someone isn’t born that gifted, can they even make it that far? My answer is, “no”…and “yes.”
First, let’s establish some “house rules.” There is a difference between gifts and vision. We’ve all seen that there are tremendously gifted people out there, and sometimes you can feel very small because some are incredibly talented. Interestingly, though, when you look at the lives of some of these talented people, there are many who still aren’t successful. Natural gifts don’t automatically lead to the fulfillment of a grand vision.
When someone has a natural talent, what do they do with it? I strongly believe that the more you’re gifted, the more responsibility you must take for it. Some totally waste it and do nothing with it. Others explore it further, and yet others are thriving with it.
But here is an interesting point—something that occurs quite often. If you have 2 runners, one of whom is naturally talented and one not so much, can the “not so much” become a better runner than the gifted one? I believe the answer is yes if the gifted one works harder than the talented one. And this is something else we’ve seen time and again.
It may be true that if you have no natural gift at all say to be a violin player, yet you want to be the best violin player in the world, that all the work possible won’t get you there. Talent may play some part in achieving a great vision.
Sometimes such visions are, indeed, unreal, a dream that’s more fiction than reality. People do like fiction, as we can see from the enormous entertainment industry, and some cannot actually tell the difference between fiction and reality. Some don’t even want to, as we see with total immersion in virtual reality.
Dream Into Action
If you have a vision, if you ever want to bring it to reality, you must take action. Behind that action must be a strong commitment. Some, through commitment, pay a high price for their vision. Some even pay with their lives.
There are old dreams that exist deep within us, sometimes dreams that we’ve even forgotten. When we were young we had dreams, and many of those dreams were good. Why did we never decide to bring some of those dreams into action, to create real visions of them? This is something only each individual can answer for themselves.
I actually do believe that each person can find their personal vision, without assistance. It’s not so complicated. And when you do find your vision, the question becomes, is it genetically limited? In the end, I actually believe it is not. A vision starts off tiny, and it can grow, much like life. A tree begins as a tiny seed, then a shoot, then eventually becomes high and broad and home to hundreds of birds. The real key is to start living your vision, bringing it into action so it becomes a reality. The more you focus on the action, the more you’ll commit to it.
When it comes to a vision, here’s where the rubber meets the road: persistence. Many people give up just as they are right around the corner from their vision becoming reality. It might have been one more practice session to bring about an invitation to play with the orchestra. It might be the next article written that causes someone to come to you to write a book. It’s sending out that next tape of your song to cause someone to finally decide they want to record it. And in sales, it might mean taking just a few more calls to finally land that deal with the big commission you’ve always wanted. Everything won in life is about persistence.
How long should you persist? That depends on the individual, and how determined they are. Long distance swimmer Diana Nyad made four attempts to swim from Cuba to Florida. Finally, on her fifth attempt, at age 64, she became the first person to swim from Havana to Key West without the aid of a shark cage.
It’s Never Easy
Bringing a vision into action never comes easy. I’ve never come across anyone who really accomplished a vision who said it was just a smooth, easy path. While the vision itself is simple, the execution rarely is.
Execution of a vision is sometimes quite painful, so much so that you hold back for fear of it. People might even tell you that you shouldn’t do it—but if you want to accomplish that vision, you can’t listen to them.
Executing a vision can be like a rocket pulling out of the Earth’s gravitational field—it requires enough fuel to do so. It’s the same with a vision; something will always try to pull you back, and you need to have the persistence and drive to move upward.
This sort of temptation away from vision even happened to Jesus. Following his baptism, which could be seen as his vision, he spent 40 days and 40 nights in the desert, where he was presented with serious temptation to not follow that vision. So the temptation to turn away from our vision comes often, and it must be resisted.
It can also be seen from this story that there is a principle involved here, that a great vision can pull one into loneliness. In that loneliness, we redefine our vision and are tested. The greatest temptation is, of course, to give up. Through this, you must carry on.
The Power Within
The power to break that gravitational field, to resist temptation, to carry on in spite of everything, always comes from inside, never from the outside. In other words, to really succeed, you must live your own dream, not someone else’s. Much of the time, when people give up, it’s because the vision wasn’t theirs, it was someone else’s. The worst thing that can happen is when a parent forces their child to live the parent’s dream. This can not only cause the child to give up, but to strongly rebel against the parent. You must let a child follow their own vision.
Should You Pursue Your Vision?
As I said earlier, no one ever says that bringing a vision to reality is easy. Today too many shy away from it by diving into imaginary worlds where “everything is fine.” We want to escape into a paradise that doesn’t exist. We don’t want to have the problems that we see around us.
But how valuable could your vision be, if it were brought to reality? Honestly, each true vision is something that could make the world a better place. We need your vision! Maybe you have a great idea for health care, the arts, astronomy, or green technology. Each vision counts! And because every person is unique, so is every vision.
When you set out to bring your vision to life, you may be surprised at what can actually be done. We limit ourselves so often that when we actually go for it, we’re happily shocked at what we were able to accomplish.
It Begins With the Vision
Coming back to our analogy of building a house, or a business, it all begins with a vision. With a building, the beginning of the vision is expressed in its initial design. Then the architect actually works out the detailed plans, which is where it begins to get complicated. There is much to take into account—the materials, gravity, stress, support, and many other factors.
How complex can execution become? Well, you may have heard about Palm Tree Island constructed off the coast of Dubai. It is one of the most expensive and complex residential developments ever undertaken. Can you imagine the architectural challenges of such a project? Just the water and the desert climate were just two incredible ones.
But first, you must firmly have in your mind what you want to achieve. This vision should be very clear because once you undertake construction, it’s very hard to tear it down and begin again if you get it wrong. Nobody can have that vision for you—it must be yours.
Without a vision, there is no progress. And the world is waiting!