Michelangelo discovered a huge, rough marble rock in a quarry and instantly knew what it was destined to become.
Within it he could actually see his masterpiece “The David” and later said he merely had to carve away the unnecessary marble and he would have his statue.
Imagery Helps Us Create a Compelling Vision
For instance, a jigsaw puzzle is much easier to put together when you can see a picture of the puzzle to be solved. Think of how much longer it would take without it – I’ve done this before just for fun, it takes twice as long.
David Ogilvy is a legendary advertising exec who started his agency by listing all the clients he wanted the most – General Foods, Lever Brothers, Bristol Myers, Campbell Soup Company, and Shell Oil.
At that time, those companies represented the largest advertising accounts in the world, and naturally he didn’t have any of them. However, because he had written them down, they became a reality – a tangible, visual, and concrete part of his vision.
He looked at that list every day and it haunted him.
Mr. Ogilvy said it took time but eventually he got them all. Every. Single. One.
You Won’t Do What You Can’t Picture Yourself Doing
If you laser-focus your imagination on an image of your ideal future, adding lots of rich details, your vision takes on a strange reality. Your mind won’t know the difference between reality and its imagined results because our imagination is more powerful than reality.
Even if logic told us there were no scary monsters under the bed, we still chose to listen to our imagination. How many of us are still afraid to hang a foot over the edge of the bed today?
Once our mind compares our current reality to what it has conjured up, we experience tension. The only way to relieve that tension is to move toward the imagined result.
The closer we get to our vision, the less tension we feel.
It doesn’t even matter what the vision is. What matters is what the vision does. It compels us to move toward it.
When we can see our vision clearly it’s like designing our future before it happens.
Picture a Blueprint
Construction companies that put many details into their design, have far fewer errors or changes during the building process. The best plans contain every detail, right down to the exact placement of the soap dish in the shower.
The more the designers are able to hammer out the details during the visioning process, the more likely they will be to achieve the desired result for the customer.
Orthodontists Understand Vision
Stephen Covey, author of “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” once asked his son’s Orthodontist how he approached his work. The doctor told Mr. Covey that he first started with a picture in his mind of what the mouth would look like when he was finished.
That image guided every single decision and move, each one building on the next in order to achieve the ideal outcome.
In other words, he didn’t decide to move a tooth based on what the mouth currently looked like, he chose his next move based on what the mouth would look like when he was done.
Your Future is Built on the Decisions You Make Today
Take ten minutes and write down what you’d like your life to look like a year from now.
Describe it in rich detail and don’t hold back. Yes, it feels awkward at first – but you’re not committing to anything, just creating the initial idea. You can change it along the way.
Most importantly, write it down, otherwise it’s just fluff.
A plane flying across country is off course 90% of the time. It gets to its destination by course correcting along the way. Without knowing the destination, however, it would end up somewhere else.
Like a pinball bouncing off anything it hits, are you making decisions today based on your feelings of current circumstances?
If so, start throwing each decision up against that clear picture of what you really want for your work and your life.
Each small decision you make today moves you down the path of least resistance or toward your most compelling vision and ideal future. Choose well.