What Makes a Visionary

An oft-quoted verse from the Book of Proverbs tells us, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.

I am no biblical scholar and would not even pretend to be able to interpret the meaning of that phrase, nor those that follow, but on the surface those words brilliantly define the origins of greatness.

To me, the word “vision” is an introduction to possibility.

A visionary has often been described as a person who looks around and sees not only what is there, but what could be there.  This is neither insignificant nor easy as no great accomplishment has ever been achieved without the impetus of vision to get it started.

To be visionary is to gaze into the future with the unshakable belief that what has been deemed to be impossible, quite simply, hasn’t been achieved yet.

What Does “Visionary” Mean?

We all know those whose first response to any new idea is to immediately present a detailed list of why it can’t be done. These well intended, but often nearsighted, folks tend to view the world through the myopia of “can’t be done.”

I remember reading an interview with Roger Bannister, a man who in 1954 did what was widely believed to be humanly impossible.

The human body, quite simply, was not designed to run 1 mile in under 4 minutes and to dream of doing so was an act of madness.

In the interview, he spoke of visualizing himself breaking the tape in under 4 minutes. In his mind he saw this as fait accompli and described the feeling of just knowing this was possible.

The world was stunned at his performance and many experts predicted that decades would pass before another human would be able to do the same.

It must be true that time flies because a mere 46 days later another runner, not only completed a mile in under four minutes but shattered Roger Bannister’s “unbreakable” record.

Everything we own, everything we touch, everything we see outside of nature began as a thought in someone’s mind – a vision.

And without those visions our world would still be as it was hundreds and even thousands of years ago. And very likely, without those visions, as a species we truly would have perished by now.

In our own lives, it is our vision that has produced who and what we have become and will evolve to.  Creating for ourselves the life we crave can only become possible once we have defined the vision for our future and then burned all bridges that could lead us to anywhere else.

Succeed in Your Mind First

Those who struggle to bring their vision to reality, most often do so because their vision, as seen in their own minds, lacks clarity and focus and it is the clearness of vision that will guide us down and through the correct path to get there, and inspire us to get back on the path each time we veer away.

Without vision our physical body may not die, but our spirit – our soul – will never sing, never soar and we will, to paraphrase the able warning from Henry David Thoreau, “go to our graves with the song still in us.”

The story we tell ourselves is the canvas upon which we paint our vision and the deeper we imbed that story within our own psyche, the closer our vision comes to becoming our reality.

Please take a moment and keep reading.

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation, and go to the grave with the song still in them.” Henry David Thoreau

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