I was never much of a sailor, but the feeling of being “lost at sea” can easily happen on dry land. All you have to do is try one of those adventure mazes they have at amusement parks, where every wall and corner looks like the one you just came from. After a while, you start to become disoriented from reality.
That should tell you about our nature as human beings – we want variety and newness. We’re born that way. But getting lost at sea is usually a result of being unable to navigate. These days, that’s likely to happen because of failure of the electronic systems we rely on. Navigating water is a difficult skill to learn. We’ve turned it over to machines.
There’s also plenty of incentive, in this stage of our society, to coast on auto-pilot. After all, there are many established paths for being a spouse, parent, employee, business owner and community leader. You should be able to bypass all the visionary stuff, and just “plug in” to a program you like … and everything should be gravy from there. Right?
If there’s one thing that trips me up, it’s scenarios where all the thinking is done for me. We can’t help liking it, especially if we come from stable families where so much planning and thinking about life was done in the background. But the hard reality of the adult world is that we have a 99 percent chance of ending poorly, if we refuse to take ownership of what our future should look like.
If you’ve felt this way – like you’re just here for 75 years or so to take up space, and manufacture carbon dioxide – I have good news. There is more than what you see. But it’ll take some work to find it.
Why The Blind Are Usually In Charge
You’ve heard of the expression, “The blind leading the blind”? I always thought it contradicted itself. I mean, a blind person can’t see what leading looks like … so how could they possibly lead anyone, never mind other blind people?
That’s why you can’t take the expression literally, any more than you can assume you have “vision” when you’ve chosen to let fate decide. If you think like most institutions that say they have vision, you think this way. It amounts to a meaningless placard or framed sign they ignore, hanging on their office walls. It “says nothing, very well.”
The performance you find in such organizations usually lines up with it. Chaos, disarray, confusion, cynicism, low morale … and it’s especially sour if it’s set against the backdrop of record company profits. In the same way you can live in the freest, most advanced and prosperous societies in the world … and be miserably unhappy, because your life seems like nothing more than a cog in the machine.
The “blind” who oversee this mess have slightly better eyesight. They can read the balance sheets, or the national mood. What they’re blind to is the detail they could leverage, to spark energy and enthusiasm from the people they lead. They’ve figured out that money and power makes their lives better; they don’t really notice what they could achieve if they helped make everybody’s lives better.
On the plus side, neither the blind nor their blind leaders pay much attention to you. They’re far too invested in themselves and what they want.
How To Create Your Vision Map
It’s 2020, and a lot of people are afraid of what the future holds. I can understand feeling powerless against things like COVID-19 and civil unrest. What doesn’t add up is feeling the same way about a perfectly healthy mind and body, and personal rest.
You can’t control the kind of things that go on around us in the news. You have no control over who gets elected president, or infectious diseases. But even with all that, you don’t have to sit through this mess, deteriorating on the inside, and medicating with Netflix or social media.
If you feel as though you’re dying a little on the inside, the time has come to open your “eyes” and map out a vision to carry you into the future. It’s time to describe what you’d like your life to look like in a few years’ time. You can start with three simple questions:
- How will your life look in 10 years?
Just let yourself dream! Pretend life turns out just like you hope it would. What does it look like? What do you do for a living? With whom do you spend most of your time? Where do you travel? Where do you live? What kind of influence do you have, and how do you serve others?
- What current goals support your long-term vision?
Would you need $5,000 a month to live on in your autumn years? If so, the path to building that reality begins today, with your financial habits. Do you need to be in excellent shape to fulfill some of those dreams? If so, you’d better work on the health of your bones, joints and flexibility.
- What would you do if you didn’t depend on going to work every day?
I don’t want to retire, as long as God gives me a healthy mind and body to serve others. But I also don’t want to “stop working” once I reach my financial goals. I want to earn enough that I can live for years at a time without working … without stopping work. Does this make sense?
Maybe you share my answer: “I’d work anyway, even if I didn’t have to.” That’s great! But how do you make sure those grain houses are full? And how do you fill them … before you reach the age where you want to implement that lifestyle?
There’s more to it than this, obviously, but these questions begin to reframe us away from the endless loop of life on auto-pilot. This is where you find the “gold” in life, by the way. With a clear vision, you can “reverse-engineer” your way to figuring out the “how” of approaching the future boldly.
If you’d like to do this at an even faster speed, I encourage you to apply to see if you’re a good fit for Foundations.