Why Is Vision Important?

Life without vision is nothing but a TELEVISION.

What is our Vision in Life?

Vision: Something seen in a dream; a thought, concept, or object formed by the imagination; manifestation to the senses of something immaterial; the act or power of imagination; mode of seeing or conceiving; unusual discernment or foresight; the act or power of seeing.

Flash Courtesy — Stargate Digital
Does your life reflect what you really want?
Do you know what you really want?
What is your vision for your life?

Our lives already reflect our vision for our life!

The sin of omission definitely applies here. Not having a vision means your vision for your life is not to have a vision.

Each one of us is accountable for our current condition. For a full year, I was focused on writing my new book. After the completion of the project, I had not taken the time to reset my vision and goals. That left me wandering and unfocused. This condition is common in Olympic athletes who spend years focused on their primary goal of participating in the Olympics. When they finish their final competition, and have not yet decided their next steps, they may feel despondent and even sink into depression.

The challenge for many individuals is that they focus on their current condition, not on what they want in future. If you are out of shape and all you can think about is how overweight you are, your vision for your future condition is that you are overweight.

To get back on track, I shifted my vision about myself from being a technical IT service management person to motivational writer. Today, I drive about the most complex IT service management at program level. Miles a week and continuous efforts made my path to reach my goal. I shifted my focus from what I was, to what I wanted. In other words, I created a new vision of myself.

So what about you?
Do you have a clear vision of what you want?

Perhaps you are struggling in your relationship with your partner. You are thinking negative thoughts about the situation. Well, don’t be surprised when you experience more of the same. You must change your thoughts and vision to reflect what you want not what you have. Some of you might argue with me and say, that’s the reality of what’s going on in our relationship. I just can’t envision a healthy and loving relationship. Fine. Have your reality. But don’t blame anyone but yourself for it. That advice comes from someone who has a lot of experience in that particular area!

The purpose of having vision statements for all areas of your life is not just about getting what you want. It’s also about living a fully engaged and exciting life! Individuals with no vision have much less energy and passion for life. Why? As human beings, we need direction to feel fulfilled, Where there is no vision, people perish.

Technically, visions are not goals. Goals are created from visions. A vision is an active and on-going dream that you are striving to achieve. I can achieve a weight goal. My vision for my health and wellness never ends. It is on-going … as long as I am alive. People don’t get what they want; they get what and who they are. That means if you want a loving relationship, you need to love. You can’t act mean-spirited and expect to realize your vision of a healthy relationship.

Your vision must be congruent with your heart and your actions.
Does your life reflect what you really want … or something else?
What is your vision in all areas of your life?
Diagram 1: Vision Areas of Life

Diagram 1- describes the various vision areas of life. Let me explain with examples of each associated vision area.

  • Self — Become a good professional, leader and team player.
  • Family — Become a good family member and ideal for every individual.
  • Relatives — Help relatives in their difficult times physiologically or financially.
  • Friends — Make highly influential and honest friends.
  • Learning — Daily learn at least one new thing.
  • Spirituality — Once in a week at least visit a temple and pray for someone.
  • Public Policy — Educate as many people as possible to understand the value of life.
  • Social Life — Contribute towards social work with positive approach.
  • Recreation — Bring innovation/idea every day to surpass the difficulties.
  • Physical Health — Do daily exercises/yoga- always good for health.
  • Community Service — Surround self with knowledgeable persons.
  • Financial matters — Save 30% of the salary every month.
  • Career/Calling — Prepare for next position and good opportunity.

Take the time to write 2 to 4 sentences (vision statements) for each category noted in diagram 1 above.

If you are operating within a faith, use it to drive your vision statements. Your vision statements should stir your excitement, inspiration, and action. Pay attention to your emotional responses to your vision statements.

The research is clear. Those who have a vision, dreams, and goals will be far more successful than those who don’t.

A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done.” Courtesy — Ralph Laure

Research further reveals that those with WRITTEN vision statements and goals do much better than people who simply carry those ideas around in their heads. Those who review their written visions on a daily basis are significantly more successful still. One study documented that everyone who wrote out and then read their vision statements daily, all became millionaires. Where we put our focus every day bears fruit in our lives. That is not to suggest money is everyone’s goal. The power of focusing on a vision will help you achieve the results you want.

Make your vision statements accessible. Place a copy by your bedside, in your office, and in other convenient places for your review. Put them on your Smart phone so that you can read your visions any where and anytime. Read them on a daily basis. It takes time to shift an image. As you reshape your thoughts and your focus, be patient. It is a redevelopment process. Some days, you will fall back into old thought patterns. Get over it and move on.

Image courtesy of Unsplash

Start now. Every day you delay is a day without the power of your new focus. The greatest gift you can give yourself is to be completely engaged in your life and to inspire others to do the same.

Diagram 2: Vision narration

Technically, vision is not goal. Goal is created from vision. A vision is an active and on-going dream that you are striving to achieve.

Goal: A goal is a desired result that a person or a system envisions, plans and commits to achieve: a personal or organizational desired end-point in some sort of assumed development. Many people endeavour to reach goals within a finite time by setting deadlines.

It is roughly similar to purpose or aim, the anticipated result which guides reaction, or an end, which is an object, either a physical object or an abstract object, that has intrinsic value.

Goal setting: Goal setting may involve establishing specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bounded (SMART) objectives, but not all researchers agree that these SMART criteria are necessary. Research on goal setting by Edwin A. Locke and his colleagues suggests that goal setting can serve as an effective tool for making progress when it ensures that group members have a clear awareness of what each person must do to achieve a shared objective. On a personal level, the process of setting goals allows individuals to specify and then work towards their own objectives (such as financial or career-based goals). Goal-setting comprises a major component of personal development and management.

Goals can be long-term, intermediate, or short-term. The primary difference is the time required to achieve them.

Short-term goals: Short-term goals expect accomplishment in a short period of time, such as trying to get a bill paid in the next few days. The definition of a short-term goal need not relate to any specific length of time. In other words, one may achieve (or fail to achieve) a short-term goal in a day, week, month, year, etc. The time-frame for a short-term goal relates to its context in the overall time line that it is being applied to. For instance, one could measure a short-term goal for a month-long project in days; whereas one might measure a short-term goal for someone’s lifetime in months or in years. Planners usually define short-term goals in relation to long-term goals.

Personal goals: Individuals can set personal goals. A student may set a goal of a high mark in an exam. An athlete might run five miles a day. A traveller might try to reach a destination-city within three hours. Financial goals are a common example, to save for retirement or to save for a purchase.

Managing goals can give returns in all areas of personal life. Knowing precisely what one wants to achieve makes clear what to concentrate and improve on, and often subconsciously prioritizes that goal. Goal setting and planning (“goal work”) promotes long-term vision and short-term motivation. It focuses on intention, desire, acquisition of knowledge, and helps to organize resources.

Efficient goal work includes recognizing and resolving all guilt, inner conflict or limiting belief that might cause one to sabotage one’s efforts. By setting clearly defined goals, one can subsequently measure and take pride in the -accomplishment of those goals. One can see progress in what might have seemed a long, perhaps difficult, grind.

Achieving personal goals

Achieving complex and difficult goals requires focus, long-term diligence and effort. Success in any field requires forgoing excuses and justifications for poor performance or lack of adequate planning; in short, success requires emotional maturity. The measure of belief that people have in their ability to achieve a personal goal, also affects that achievement.

Long-term achievements rely on short-term achievements. Emotional control over the small moments of the single day makes a big difference in the long term.

Personal goal achievement and happiness

There has been a lot of research conducted looking at the link between achieving desired goals, changes to self-efficacy and integrity and ultimately changes to subjective well-being. Goal Efficacy refers to how likely an individual is to succeed in achieving their goal? Goal integrity refers to how consistent one’s goals are with core aspects of the self. Research has shown that a focus on goal efficacy is associated with the well-being factor ‘happiness’ (subjective well-being) and goal integrity is associated with the well-being factor ‘meaning’ (psychology). Multiple studies have shown the link between achieving long-term goals and changes in subjective well-being; most research shows that achieving goals that hold personal meaning to an individual, increases feelings of subjective well-being.

Self-concordance model

The self-concordance model is a model that looks at the sequence of steps that occur from the commencement of setting a goal to attaining that goal.

It looks at the likelihood and impact of goal achievement based on the type of goal and meaning of the goal to the individual. Different types of goals impact goal achievement and the sense of subjective well-being brought about by achieving the goal. The model breaks down factors that promote, first, striving to achieve a goal, and then achieving a goal, and then the factors that connect goal achievement to changes in subjective well-being.

Self-concordant goals:Goals that are pursued to fulfil intrinsic values or to support an individual’s self-concept are called self-concordant goals. In contrast, goals that do not reflect an individual’s internal drive and are pursued due to external factors (e.g. social pressures) emerge from a non-integrated region of a person and are therefore more likely to be abandoned when obstacles occur. “Those who attain self-concordant goals reap greater well-being benefits from their attainment. Attainment-to-well-being effects are mediated by need satisfaction, i.e., daily activity-based experiences of autonomy, competence, and relatedness that accumulate during the period of striving. The model is shown to provide a satisfactory fit to 3 longitudinal data sets and to be independent of the effects of self-efficacy, implementation intentions, avoidance framing, and life skills.”Furthermore, self-determination theory and research surrounding this theory shows that if an individual effectively achieves a goal, but that goal is not self-endorsed or self-concordant, well-being levels do not change despite goal attainment.

Goals tend to be long on direction, and short on specific tactics. For example, you can set a goal of losing 30 pounds without having a specific plan as to how to do it. You’ve defined the destination you want to arrive at, and tactics can be developed as you move forward.

We can think of a goal as doing the following:

Defines the destination
Changes the direction to move toward the destination
Changes the mind-set to adjust to and support the new direction
Creates the necessity to develop specific tactics

Goals tend to change your mind-set by changing your focus. And as your focus changes, it takes your thinking with it. This is why goals are often accompanied by affirmations, which involve projecting yourself into the desired (but as yet unattainable) destination.

People set goals all the time, without ever being very specific. Organizations do it too. A company can set a goal of returning to profitability in two years, or becoming the leader in their industry in five years, all without ever determining how that will be accomplished. And once again, the details are worked out later, after the big picture changes of direction and destination — or goals — have been changed and defined.

Objective: A specific result that a person or system aims to achieve within a time frame and with available resources.

In general, objectives are more specific and easier to measure than goals. Objectives are basic tools that underlie all planning and strategic activities. They serve as the basis for creating policy and evaluating performance. Some examples of business objectives include minimizing expenses, expanding internationally, or making a profit.

Establishing a Series of Concrete Steps

If goals are about the big picture, then objectives are all about tactics. Mechanically, tactics are action plans to get from where you are to where you want to be. A goal defines the direction and destination, but the road to get there is accomplished by a series of objectives.

A good example of this is a person who owes $50,000 in credit card debt on ten different cards and wants to become debt-free. Getting out of debt is the goal. But it is achieved by paying off each of the ten credit cards, one at a time. The payoff of each credit card is an objective — the series of smaller targets that need to be hit in order to achieve the big picture goal of becoming debt-free.

The methodology for paying off each credit card will be very specific — i.e., you’ll need to pay X amount of extra money to Credit Card #1 for Y number of months in order to meet the objective of paying it off. Then you need to repeat the action for the remaining nine credit cards. The tactics — which are the objectives — are very specific.

How Objectives Can Help You Reach Your Goals

In nearly any goal you want to reach you can use the credit card example to help you get there. First, you define the goal — whatever it may be. Unless the goal is a small one and easily obtained, it’s usually best to break big goals down to a series of specific action steps — it’s a way of using the divide-and-conquer strategy to accomplish a goal that’s far too large to do in the near term.

The action steps have specific targets, as well as methods to reach them. Each target is an objective. Once it’s accomplished you move on to the next one, gradually moving toward your goal as each target is completed. Though goals generally control objectives, objectives can also control goals as they unfold. For example, since a goal is general in nature, it may be refined and altered as objectives are completed. The completion of an objective or a series of them, could cause you to either raise or lower the ultimate goal. In this way goals and objectives can complement each other.

The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them. Choose a goal that seems right for you and strive to be the best, however hard the path. Aim high. Behave honorably. Prepare to be alone at times, and to endure failure. Persist! The world needs all you can give. The life without an aim is considered the life without a proper direction. It’s like a ship floating aimlessly in the vast ocean. Have you, even once, ever thought of your objectives of life?

When you have your life objective and goal objectives clear, you will be able to identify your task objectives clearly too. For the purpose of this discussion, let’s imagine you are clear on your life and goal objectives and subsequently, your task objectives. Say you are going to a class today (a task). What is your task objective? Is it to maximize your learning? If it is, then do everything within the class to give you the best learning. Sit in the front rows, listen intently, note down all the pertinent points, engage actively in class, and ask when you have any questions. Don’t go into the class and day dream, because that is not your task objective.

If your task objective for the class is just to have your attendance marked and you want to do other things, then, act according to that objective. Go to the class, sit all the way in the back, take out the other things you want to do and do them while the class is going on. Engage in the class from time to time if you feel it helps ward off the teacher’s guard on you. All in all, act in accordance with your objective. Don’t go half-way because you’re just wasting your time in the process. Either go full-way or don’t do it.

Ask yourself these questions: What is your objective in life? What is the objective behind the goals you pursue? What is the objective behind the tasks you do every day?

Whatever you do, always bear in mind your end objective. Every time you begin a task, be clear on what the end objective is. Every time you are working on something, evaluate it against your objective. Only by unwavering focus with the end in your mind will you achieve it. Being able to create an identity of respect in the eyes of the world is happiness, growing up and being a real person of values, is life’s ultimate goal; happiness is the only wealth, and loving and being loved is the only cause for existence.