You don't need a vision
The trouble with visualization
“May God us keep / From Single vision & Newtons sleep”
One thing I didn’t have on my 2023 bingo card was reading an inspirational newsletter by Arnold Schwarzenegger. In yesterday’s letter, he linked to a viral twitter thread of 130 years of people in newspaper clippings saying, “Things were better 50 years ago.”
Arnold’s theory about why people are always saying this is: “When you don’t have a vision of the future, it’s easier to look back.” People get stuck looking back because they don’t have a vision for what’s ahead. That’s why he says he’s always telling people to find their vision.1
A vision gives you a reason to be here, doing whatever you’re doing. It makes you excited to wake up every day and keep moving forward. It gives life meaning…
All that matters is that you think about it, you identify it, and you see it. Take some time today to sit down for a few minutes, figure out what your vision is, and then visualize yourself doing whatever it is you dream of. Play it like a movie in your head.
Arnold goes on about this all the time — how he visualized his way to success. He uses language like, “turn your vision into reality!” (He also talks a lot about this in his recent documentary, Arnold.) His message is that you have to see clearly what you want before you can take the steps to get it. “Vision is everything,” he says, “You must be able to visualize your end goal for it to be real.”
And this all sounds very inspiring — it really does pump you up! — but for much of my life, it would have been almost useless advice, because I didn’t really see any of my career coming. There was no clear path back then to where I am now.
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