Great. Now, in order to be a successful, functional adult, I have to have a “vision.”
That’s what they tell me anyway. There are thousands of books being sold, articles being written, DVD sets being watched, and conferences being attended, hawking this “vision” thing. It goes by other names too. If you’re in the corporate world, they might call it a “five year plan.” If you’re in more Christian circles, they might call it God’s “calling” or “purpose” for your life. Other people might call it a “life plan.” And a lot of people are calling it a “vision.”
And for a near-sighted, detail-oriented guy like me, having a life plan, calling or vision is extremely difficult. I can’t see five years into the future. I barely can see into this afternoon. I don’t have a “vision.”
So, what hope is there for those of us who can’t seem to catch a vision for life?
What Was Your “Vision” In Third Grade?
Kids don’t understand adult-speak, so I don’t ask third graders what their “vision” for their future is. I ask them what they want to do when they grow up.
Overall, most kids’ life plans are pretty ridiculous. Kids want to be astronauts and professional ball players. Kids say these things because, as I lovingly put it, kids are naive. They don’t know anything. Most of them don’t know what they are doing in ten minutes.
And most adults don’t really know either. We keep a day planner, but it’s just a guess.
In the same way, I can set out a “vision” for kids to follow for the next hour. (Teachers usually call this “directions,” but no popular leader wants to sound like a schoolmarm.) But no child really knows where that first mark they make on the paper is going to take them. A finished project has all kinds of unintended surprises.
That’s just it. A vision is just an idealized version of the future. Your vision is never going to be crystal clear. The only vision that’s 20/20 is hindsight.
Is Life a Formula?
Let’s clear this up right now.
The people who don’t want you to believe that are trying to sell you a formula. If you believe that what they are selling is absolutely necessary, then of course you are going to buy it. You might feel inspired for a while. But no book or conference or blog post can deliver to you a clear cut path to your future.
Sometimes, we get so caught up on finding a “vision” for ourselves that we try to put everything on hold until we can get it sorted out. We want to have a clear picture of the future, and then get “laser focused” on it. Vision, plan, execute. Easy. Right?
Don’t Live By Sight
You don’t have to wait for a “vision,” a “life plan,” or a clearly directed “calling” to get started. You don’t have to sit there, motionless, waiting for lightning to strike.
In fact, waiting for a “vision” can waste a lot of time. You don’t have to live your whole life by sight. Sometimes, you can take a step of faith and just start moving.
Just make a mark on the paper, and see where it goes. Work on the little details. What’s one detail of your life that needs addressing? Work on it. Don’t worry about the big picture. Something else is bound to come along while you’re working. Eventually, the details will start to become a cohesive whole. You’ll waste a lot less time (and a lot less money) paying people to help you find the un-findable.
What are you trying to do? Are you taking it day by day, trying to work out the details, or do you have a big picture plan? How’s that working out for you?
[photo: Ashley Santiago]