Amity Institute Of Training & Development

Shed your doubts... Have a Vision Read Time: 4 mins

Despite a bleak choice 2020 gave, the spot for my favorite movie was taken by a Disney movie- ‘Soul’. The movie has several life lessons, one of them about finding your SPARK. The character ‘22’ who plays a nonchalant cynic is just passing through her time and clue less about what she is missing without a spark eventually gets mentored and finds her path.

Ever wonder- where your passion, your dreams and interests come from? What is it that makes you... YOU?

Unlike how it’s depicted in the movie Soul- where one needs to find one’s spark, to reach earth, I believe one needs to rather find it after reaching here. Daniel Gilbert, a Harvard professor makes a simple observation in his book Stumbling on Happiness: The human being is the only animal that thinks about the future. Biologically, it is an astonishing ability!

From childhood, we are often faced with the ‘Where do you see yourself in future or in xx years?’ question in various forms at several stages. Simply because it’s unfathomable for humans not to envisage and look ahead. In fact, having dreams and desire to reach somewhere breathes life into life and gives us a reason to Be.

Last year, I went for a workplace reunion which happened to be the first place of work/job for most of the audience and nearly everyone there had two decades of experience or more by then.

I met many of my ex-colleagues, peers, earlier bosses there, most of whom had a flourishing career- being entrepreneurs or were in senior leadership positions if not part of C-Suite of multinational organizations. Some had gone into diverse areas and were chasing exciting dreams and running successful ventures. There were however some struggling too and looking for the right career switch or a stable job while balancing with multiple challenges life throws. On deeper interactions and observations, I discovered that most people who were successful and seemed to have a great and fulfilling life, had done a discovery of who they were and where they are headed and had figured the reasons why they are where they are. So, they had a north star guiding them towards their set vision while the others were searching for theirs.

That got me thinking if having a vision makes you better able or in charge of your life or vice-versa. Research tells us they are complimentary and each triggers the other. People with vision, dreams and goals are far more energetic and full of life than the people who do not.

As children, we are far more liberated. but often times, as grownups, we hold ourselves back from defining a personal vision- and that I believe is because we are conditioned to making life choices with a restricted view- with limited options of what is in front of us. Also, because we self-doubt, more and more as we age perhaps.

In his book, “Toward a Psychology of Being”, Abraham Maslow explains there are two powerful sets of forces within the human condition: a drive for growth and its opposing force, a drive for safety.

Scott Jeffery observes about Maslow’s book, that growth propels us forward toward wholeness of Self to discover our uniqueness. An opposing force leads us to defend our current self, clinging to safety out of fear of the unknown. The force of safety keeps us where we are now, clinging to the past and afraid to take chances in order to improve our current conditions (internally and externally). This safety seeking side is afraid of independence, freedom, and separateness—the very things our growth side is demanding. Maslow writes- We grow forward when the delights of growth and anxieties of safety are greater than the anxieties of growth and the delights of safety.

A conscious acceptance of one’s safety needs and a constant push to challenge oneself makes one better than the previous version. Getting into the right frame of mind is crucial for discovery of self and what matters to us.

A whole lot of guidance is available on finding one’s center- but I believe what works for one may not work for another, hence finding and choosing your own method helps. After all, your values, your strengths, your dreams are your own- though you could be inspired by someone or happen to inspire others.

Once we have found what compels us enough to propel us forward, that’s when we are ready to craft that Vision- we need to remember it’s a process and its ongoing. It doesn’t have to be perfect and final. This knowledge gave me a lot of confidence to take that leap and start somewhere.

Having crafted a vision is just a start- visualization, revisiting, setting your goals and evaluating is constant and iterative to bring it to life.

And somehow, when you’re living your vision, you get external help too. As author Paulo Coelho put it The Alchemist: “.. when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”  

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By: Vidya Akkireddy

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