Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others – Jonathan Swift
A New Decade
It’s 2020! A new year. It is especially unique because it ushers in a new decade. There seems to be a different air at the start of a year. Goals, hopes, and dreams are never more alive. The possibilities seem innumerable like the stars in the night sky. Personally, I am excited about what is ahead for you as well as for me. But while my heart and mind are racing regarding what could be, there is a place where a new year must begin if it to be a successful one. And it is deeper than making resolutions.
Multiple studies reveal that 92% of resolutions fail. Resolutions, Charles Spurgeon once said, “only need the ordinary fire of daily life to melt them away.” I believe that the high rate of failure stems from the inaccurate belief that resolutions can change habits. This fallacy creates a limiting belief that leads to frustration. And the biggest frustration with resolutions is that they create the aura of change but don’t carry enough strength for them to be actualized. With that said, a fitting question to ask in the new year is, What will make me a better person?
To do this we must sacrifice our new year resolutions and create a compelling vision for our lives instead. By compelling, I mean a vision that will not wilt or wither when the “ordinary fires of daily life” come (and they will) leaving you with charred hopes, goals, and dreams. Whereas resolutions show what could be, vision goes a step further by adding conviction to show what should be. Using author Ken Blanchard’s definition, a vision is “a picture of the future that produces passion.” Blanchard goes on to say a compelling vision tells you “who you are, where you are going, and what will guide your journey.” With that said, vision is the place where a purpose-driven life begins, not just a new year. For without vision, Andy Stanley says, “what could be and should be, won’t be.” But where definitions don’t suffice, a story may serve to add some clarity. And Erik Weihenmayer’s is just the story we need.
Having been born legally blind, Erik eventually lost his sight completely at age 14 due to retinoschisis, a rare hereditary eye condition that deteriorates to blindness. But Erik chose not to be robbed of his life as well. Diminishing sight would not quench his desire to live a full life. He would not succumb to his condition and sit on the sidelines of life. He became a formidable wrestler in high school and even did rock climbing as a teenager. All while blind.
After graduating college he continued to beat the odds of blindness. Eventually, he switched from rock climbing to mountain climbing. His vision and determination culminated on May 25, 2001, when he became the first blind person to reach the summit of Mt. Everest! Where others would have camped with such a condition, Erik continued to climb his way through life. This is the power of vision. Erik exemplifies what musical legend Stevie Wonder once said, “Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes doesn’t mean he lacks vision.” This will be our point of focus in this first month of 2020.
What’s Coming This Month
One of the best gifts that we were endowed with by God is vision. Visionless living results in a meaningless life. The road to regret is paved with visionless living. Living a life that matters is not only a privilege, I believe it is a right that God gave each one of us. This is why I believe that God gives us purpose even before we are born.
Knowing that vision goes beyond natural sight is encouragement for us all. Theologian and pastor, Dr. Tony Evans once offered this tongue-twisting observation, “If all you see is what you see, you will never see all there is to be seen.” In short, vision is what helps us see beyond what is, to what should be.
Here is an overview of what we will venture into this month:
- The place where it begins (today’s post)
- Vision contaminants (Jan. 16)
- Vision aids (Jan. 23)
- Steps to crafting your vision (Jan. 30)
With that roadmap in mind, let me offer three reasons why vision is where it all begins as well as why it matters more than ever as we start a new year:
1. Vision keeps you in the game
Erik seemed destined for a life without meaning after losing his sight. And no one would have blamed him. He could have chosen to live angry due to a condition he inherited, but vision sustained his enthusiasm and his passion. It kept him active in life, even though his condition and critics would have rendered him passive.
With his sight lost, he discovered he had so much more left in him. Vision makes us aware of what we have left despite what we may have lost. Vision encourages us to keep living our best life despite the obstacles that come. And in addition to that, vision aligns with our head and heart.
2. Vision aligns your head and heart
For those who own cars, especially here in America, we have several choices for gasoline depending on the type of vehicle we own. But there is one option that is more suited for big trucks; diesel. If you put diesel fuel in a car that calls for unleaded gasoline the impact on the engine would be catastrophic.
This owes to a mismatch or misalignment between engine type and fuel. And a mismatch between our mindset and heart can be just as dangerous. Vision provides the alignment between the two by synergizing our thoughts and passion. This alignment in return creates an internal environment where your vision can thrive. And this head-heart united front transfers your vision into a mission.
3. Vision births your mission
Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned a nation where his “children would not be judged by their color but by the content of their character” and his mission of leading the civil rights movement was birthed. It was after Henry Ford saw a world where cars, not horses and carriages, would be the common mode of transportation, his mission with Ford motors was born.
It is vision, not resolutions, that gives birth to your life’s mission. Consequently, the mission gives legs to your vision and drives life change. It not only impacts you but it also touches the lives of others for the better. As Zig Ziglar once noted, “Outstanding people have one thing in common: an absolute sense of mission.”
Final Thought: No one has accomplished anything significant without first having a vision. Whether it is climbing the highest mountain to inspire others that barriers can be overcome, or leading a civil rights movement to challenge the status quo, or disrupting the norm by introducing a new mode of transportation, vision is the place where it all begins. And it teaches that tomorrow can be better than today. What’s your vision as we start a new year and decade?
Keep on keeping on!