“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable” – Seneca
Vision is the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination and wisdom. Visions come as ideas or images. The ability to en-vision is the ability to see possibilities in the future.
Vision is important. It offers us guidance and direction. Just like people used to navigate by the north star in the sky, the vision we create for our lives and our world guides us on the path through life.
Getting lost and going off course is inevitable in life. But just as when a ship is steering towards a point on the horizon we can notice when we are veered away from our destination and start to correct our course.
We must put work into creating our vision. It does not just happen naturally. With all the noise that is constantly pouring in from the world outside, our vision can easily be drowned out. It is important to have quiet time on your own or with friends where you can allow space for your vision to emerge and be nurtured.
Moving in a direction that excites and inspires us gives us the energy and strength we need to overcome difficulty. We need vision for motivation.
An anecdote is told of a man of Baghdad who was in great distress, and who, after calling on God for aid, dreamt that a great treasure lay hid in a certain spot in Egypt. He accordingly journeyed to Egypt, and there fell into the hands of the patrol, who arrested him, and beat him severely on suspicion of being a thief.
Calling to mind the proverb that “falsehood is a mischief but truth a remedy,” he determined to confess the true reason of his coming to Egypt, and accordingly told them all the particulars of his dream.
On hearing them they believed him, and one of them said, “You must be a fool to journey all this distance merely on the faith of a dream. I myself have many times dreamt of a treasure lying hid in a certain spot in Baghdad, but was never foolish enough to go there.”
Now the spot in Baghdad named by this person was none other than the house of the poor man of Baghdad, and he straightway returned home, and there found the treasure.
In the above story we see two attitudes towards dreams and visions. What do we learn from this story about the importance of visions and dreams?
There is a phrase: “Begin with the end in mind”. This means thinking about where you want end up in your journey before you take the first step.
We create things twice. First, we create the idea or image of something in our mind. Then we create it in the physical world. Scientists like Albert Einstein, inventors like Thomas Edison and social justice leaders like Martin Luther King first imagined, or saw in their mind’s eye, the reality they wanted to create. Then they worked to create that reality in the world.
The imagination is like a muscle. The more we use it, the stronger it grows. Try to exercise your imagination by en-visioning the kind of future you would like to create. What kind of world would you like to live in? What kind of life would you like to lead? What kind of future would you like to create?
You can gather images from newspapers and magazines or online and create a collage that represents that vision. Or simply drawing can help draw those images out of your mind and give them a more concrete reality. Try to return to these images, that, like the north star, can guide your actions in life.