We’ve said a lot about vision and its importance to human beings and achieving their potential as individuals as well as within organizations. Nothing, however, is more important to people than motivation. It just so happens that when done well, vision represents the very soul of motivation without which, our efforts would be hollow and lifeless. Let’s take a look at motivation first.
Motivation is a complex labyrinth of stimuli then response. In some cases, the response itself is the very motivation to provide continuous stimulus and then yet again, an additional response. This cycle continues for most of our lives and is, in fact, the fundamental building block of all human behavior. When we accidentally touch something extremely hot we immediately snatch our hand away to protect ourselves. This is the classic stimulus-response example that behavioral scientists have studied for years.
So let’s just say it’s true that we spend our entire lives simply acting and reacting to stimuli and that our responses are the collective achievement sum total of our entire human existence. That would mean that if we knew all of the stimuli and all of the responses, we could predict relatively accurately what will happen in the future assuming, of course, certain assumptions. How boring! Thank goodness we don’t have computers that are big enough of smart enough to measure all of these variables.
I much prefer Stephen Covey’s idea that between each stimulus and response is our inherent ability to choose, meaning at any given time we have the ability and even the responsibility to choose a response that drives home our greatest values, our most enduring beliefs. Suffice it to say, all the theories of causation when it comes to human behavior are incomplete save those that consider the presence of the basic will of man to choose his own destiny. So what’s vision got to do with this?
If motivation is the very reason why we do anything and is indeed the very building blocks of human behavior then vision is the foundation upon which those blocks rest. Vision creates the correct state of mind required to compel people and organizations forward. It provides a special frame of reference that reverberate a passionate truth. It clarifies and provides the right rational to justify behavior. It’s not simply a destination but has least four characteristics that identify it.
Four Characteristics of “Super Vision”
For vision to actually maximize human potential it must contain four basic characteristics simultaneously; it must be intense, re-occurring and include both internal and external stimuli. My favorite characteristic is of course intensity. Because we are all more or less motivated by the constant and incessant urgencies that plague our everyday existence anything that actually gets our attention must be intense. It has to have a resounding urgency and a moving quality that compel us to action now, in spite of the phone calls that need to be returned or the email that needs to be answered. When an idea is presented with high levels of intense stimulation we tend to react with a similar and equal intensity this is the basic law of action-reaction. The reaction that we display after intense stimulation is not simply speedy but focused. It’s this focused attention that allows us to drown out all competing stimuli and move our agenda forward.
Of course, we must also have re-occurring stimuli to keep us in the game. This can be achieved in a variety of ways but from a vision point of few, I suggest that you take a few planned minutes each day to plug into your vision and ask yourself what you can do today to move the needle forward on your ultimate goal. You can use all kinds of tools to re-ignite the passion for your vision; your favorite music or poetry, maybe even quick meditation or deep breathing exercise. Whatever works for you do it…do it again…and then do it some more. Remember, when you lose intensity, you lose the momentum driven opportunities and benefits that can never be replaced. Time is an unforgiving mistress that will never come back when she’s been forsaken.
Your vision must invoke internal as well as external stimuli. Which comes first? Actually, it doesn’t matter. For instance, you may have a vision to be absolutely the best at what you do. This intense desire may drive you to study harder, produce more and make a truckload of money. Along the way, you may be recognized with a very welcome honor or opportunity that you hadn’t predicted. It’s at this moment you realize some external motivators and then become re-motivated to be even better next time. This means a further adjustment to behavior and may even spur competitors to enter YOUR race! On other occasions, you could be trucking along mindlessly doing what you do and bump into a tremendous award or bonus. Shortly after that there is an opportunity to mentor someone else and you feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment. You’ll be immediately motivated to be a better role model and of course, increase your production. Some rewards will come faster than others or even be more predictably, never the less, it doesn’t matter which comes first; the chicken or the egg, you still need both to make a chicken and spinach quiche. So start working on your personal vision today.
Answer today’s blog with your own personal vision statement. Let’s all enjoy some mutual accountability.