Vision and Looking Within
* Created by our writer, dreamer, and doer Ebner Edwards *
Life can be extremely overwhelming sometimes. It may seem like so much is going on at once, that it becomes too much to control, and the right answer may not seem clear during the chaos. Even more so, it may seem too difficult to make crucial decisions when a lingering cloud of uncertainty is present, which was created by an over stimulating environment. So, when there is so much to be mentally processed in the heat of the moment, you must have the ability to decide which decision is in your best interest. It is imperative to make sure that decision will guide you to the next point you desire in order to achieve a specific goal. You can do this by creating a vision and using that vision as a map to guide you to your desired destination. When a vision is created, the choices that are presented to you become less overwhelming because you will naturally pick the choice that strictly satisfies your desired goals.
It is essential that the vision being constructed imposes self-discipline, because if it doesn’t then you risk getting lost on the way to your destination and going down a road that pulls you away from your goal. The answer to achieving your goals is discipline.
Think of two prominent motivational leaders who have had a positive impact on American culture and are inspirational role models for many throughout the world. Martin Luther King Jr. and Oprah Winfrey. Both of whom became a staple in history, came from absolutely nothing, and endured significant amounts of hardship in their early life-time.
Martin Luther King Jr. spoke the following words in his famous ‘I have a Dream Speech’: “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood…I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but but the content of their character.”
Martin Luther King Jr’s vision and desire for peace, unity, freedom, and equality among different races required great amounts of discipline and focus. This vision demanded that no matter what, Martin Luther King Jr. must show love and forgiveness to those who showed him hatred and continue to march towards peace and freedom despite hardship. This vision required Martin Luther King to separate his internal environment from his external environment so external hatred did not consume his inner peace. He once famously said “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” This vision that Martin Luther King Jr. had was supported in discipline and inner peace.
Not allowing your external environment to cripple your internal environment (internal environment being your thought process, core values, love, self-balance, focus, and goals) will help you maintain your vision. Your internal environment must be separate from your external environment. Our internal environment is a place of peace and focus, and the beauty of it is that no one else but you can wonder it freely (so use that to your advantage). The moment any external factor becomes meshed with your internal environment, that is when you begin to lose self-control, focus, and the ability to make wise decisions that will compromise your vision.
Before becoming one of the most influential figures for young women in our lifetime, Oprah Winfrey experienced great tragedy in her childhood. Sadly, at the age of nine, Oprah Winfrey was exposed to sexual abuse from her male family members, lived in poverty, and was constantly neglected. Despite the tragic childhood Oprah Winfrey endured, she did not allow her external environment to intervene with her internal environment. She created a better vision for herself that required discipline (she used books as an escape from her hardship and lived her childhood through books, and so, she would constantly read and use her imagination) and a keen focus on her vision. She refused to focus on what was bringing her pain. She chose to live in her mind where there was peace. A personal favorite quote of mine from Oprah Winfrey states the following: “Books allowed me to see a world beyond the front porch of my grandmother’s shotgun house…[and] the power to see possibilities beyond what was allowed at the time.”
So, how did a man who was exposed to incredible amounts of hatred, police brutality, persecution, racially motivated attacks, and arrested multiple times for protesting against unjust laws become one of the most influential civil rights leaders in history? How did a nine-year old girl who was sexually abused and neglected, become the first African American woman billionaire and the richest African American woman, awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and given one of the world’s most famous woman philanthropist?
They both had a vision and refused to believe that their current struggles were their destiny. Not allowing their external pain to compromise their inner peace. Vision is what gave these two historically famous people the courage, discipline, and strength to overcome extreme hardship.
Oprah Winfrey once said the following “Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe… Dream the biggest dream for yourself. Hold the highest vision of life for yourself.”
Challenges are forever rising. So, without discipline, one will find themselves easily giving up. Willpower cannot maintain a desired vision by itself. So, find your purpose and find your WHY because discipline will be consistent, and willpower will stay fixated. Expect that your vision will be put to the test with challenges. As it will test your authenticity, willpower, and self-discipline. The journey will not be easy. There will be many challenges. All you can, and must do, is have a silent mind and embrace those obstacles with open arms. The moment you begin to let your emotions spiral out of control, your internal environment will be at a great risk because you waste energy you could be using more effectively and productively…………
And that is just your internal environment testing you. Despite all the adversity that occurs in our external environment, one will be able to overcome the chaos by 1) simplifying life with a disciplined vision and 2) having a well-balanced internal environment by not allowing external factors to disrupt it.