5-7 Minute Read
“I want to protect my vision, and that’s the hardest thing” – Sam Taylor-Johnson
Water and Dreams
Clean water is a necessity for life, not an accessory or luxury. Yet for many around the world, access to clean water remains a big challenge. But having clean water goes beyond what we call everyday use. Sometimes clean and safe water can connect people to their dreams. Take for instance a remote countryside in Rwanda where Binaga School is located. Before water came to the village, the school was largely deserted. Many of the students had to go several miles to fetch water or worse, stay home because of waterborne illnesses. This meant that children were missing out on one of the fundamentals of a brighter future; education. This was the trend until Water For People stepped in and brought clean water to the village. And the change has been evident. Students can now focus on getting an education instead of staying homesick or missing classes to fetch water. Students like Josephine, who want to be a journalist, and Eugene, who wants to be a mechanic can envision a brighter future because they have access to uncontaminated water and it is hydrating their dreams.
Vision is similar to water. Not in the sense of form but in terms of its necessity for life. A Hebrew proverb found in the Bible unequivocally states, “Without a vision, the people perish.” And just like water, vision can be contaminated. As a smear or smudge on a pair of glasses can inhibit a clear view, contaminated vision prevents us from seeing things as they can and should be.
To the naked eye, these contaminants may go unnoticed. Whereas to the person who is keen to see their vision actualize they are unmistakable. After conducting a diagnosis of what can contaminate my own vision, I found that the status quo, unpreparedness, and impatience are the three culprits that can impede my vision from becoming reality. Let’s look at each one in turn.
The Status Quo
This contaminant is perhaps the most toxic because fear of change is it’s driving force. Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company said, “the riskiest thing we can do is maintain the status quo.” According to Forbes.com, the status quo is the preservation of the current or existing state of affairs. The status quo is what killed Blockbuster when Netflix came into the market.
Likewise, most visions are slowly emaciated when what is, eats away at the picture of what can be. By Water for People bringing clean and freshwater to Binaga, the status quo of missing school to fetch water and water-borne illnesses was overcome. Opting to maintain what needs to be changed leaves us stuck in the vicious cycle of the same ol’ same ol’. A vision will always be in opposition to what’s current, causing tension. It is when I envision something better and act in alignment towards it, that I face the greatest resistance. The status quo or the way things are becomes the gravitational pull keeping our visions on the launching pad without ever lifting off.
A rocket requires the greatest amount of fuel at liftoff. For example, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 requires around 902,793lbs of fuel to launch! The reason being, the rocket must escape the earth’s strong gravitational pull. And the status quo is just as formidable.
To escape the way things are and keep what could and should be at the forefront, requires believing that your vision is a necessity, not an accessory. Next, you must adopt a different way of thinking if you are to really see a difference. If your vision hasn’t captured your mind and heart, it will probably not materialize. Not only do these help you escape the pull of the status quo, they play a part in the second contaminant.
I believe the best thing anyone can do if they are serious about their vision is to prepare for it. I recall in my early teens playing the role of Joseph in a Christmas play. I had a vision of myself on stage in full costume, playing the part. And it fueled my preparation. With a mirror in view and script in hand, I practiced the lines over and over before each group rehearsal. Come the day of the play, I was a nervous wreck. I couldn’t remember my lines! But once the curtains opened and the play began, my preparation overrode my nerves. Better to be scared but prepared than to be scared and unprepared.
Abraham Lincoln once said, if he was given six hours to chop down a tree, he would use four to sharpen his ax. How much time are you investing to prepare or get sharpened for your vision? You may not be able to take massive action but even minimal action counts toward the whole. Atomic Habits author James Clear calls it the 1% rule. Doing something every day, no matter how small, to get better, or in this instance, close the distance between your vision and reality. How be it, most of the time we don’t see our vision happen because we become impatient in our preparation and give up.
Every vision requires a certain amount of time before fruition. I can go further to say that the bigger the vision, the longer the amount of time needed. But impatience abounds all around us. We are living in a world where Google gives us answers immediately and Amazon has one-day delivery.
Our vision can enter a holding pattern in certain seasons of our lives. And impatience can set in because our world conditions us to want everything in the immediate. But vision won’t be rushed. Applied patience matures you and your vision to stand up to the rigors of daily life.
There are two levels of patience when it comes to vision. The first level is patience to a certain point. We all start at this level but time becomes the separator between those that are all in and those that are not. Delays, which are part of our development, can be misinterpreted as denials. There is a pain in patience and not everyone can stomach it. But if time and the seasons of life don’t discourage you, then the second level is presented where patience is at the point of no return. This means no matter how long it takes you have chosen to see the vision through to fruition. At this level, patience and faith meet, and with continuous action collaborate to materialize your vision. So let patience shape your vision. It is part of the interface between your vision and reality.
Final thought: Clean water and vision may seem miles apart from each other. But both are necessary for life. Yet there are everyday contaminants that pollute them. Just as we keep our drinking water pure, do your utmost to protect your vision from the contaminants of the status quo, unpreparedness, and impatience. It’s one of the hardest things but you’ll be glad you did.
Keep on keeping on!