Cultivating Your Own Vision

There’s an excellent rant post by a former Apple interface designer on Microsoft’s Vision of the Future that entails what a successful vision should be as described below. What I find interesting about it is how it has already been proven true within my own life.

This matters, because visions matter.
Visions give people a direction and inspire people to act,
and a group of inspired people is
the most powerful force in the world.

If you’re a young person setting off to realize a vision,
or an old person setting off to fund one,
I really want it to be something worthwhile.
Something that genuinely improves how we interact.

Bret Victor

You see earlier in my life, I was like everyone else in that I believed that when you set goals, they should be realistic ones. While I still believe this to be true, what I now find more important though is to define a greater vision for your life that makes it worthwhile to live and work through those myriad of goals, thus unifying them in a meaningful way for yourself. Even more importantly, it gives you the persistence and faith to continue working towards your vision even when you aren’t fully sure of how to achieve it yet. Most important of all, I find that when you have a greater vision for your life, suddenly the little things that might have annoyed you before don’t bother you as much. Or while they may still bother you, you find you can get over them easier because your perspective is taken from a long view versus a short one.

For those who’ve played MMO games, you know the same principle applies. When you get excited about a new expansion, it isn’t so much about the individual questing goals that get you excited, as the endgame vision of what you are trying to achieve as a hero. Thus you may encounter boring quests or even extremely challenging ones, yet you persevere and overcome them because of the greater vision of what you hope to achieve (i.e. slay the massive dragon in the final endgame raid dungeon). Really the only thing stopping you or helping you to achieve your vision is your belief in yourself. Once you start cultivating your vision and your belief in yourself, everything changes, as you finally become what you know you truly should be (as eloquently put by Viktor Frankl paraphrasing Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in the video below).

If we treat people as they are,
we make them worse.
If we treat people as they ought to be,
we help them become
what they are capable of becoming.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe