Why is direction and destination so important?
“There are people who put their dreams in a little box and say, ‘Yes, I’ve got dreams, of course I’ve got dreams.’ Then they put the box away and bring it out once in awhile to look in it, and yep, they’re still there. These are great dreams, but they never even get out of the box. It takes an uncommon amount of guts to put your dreams on the line, to hold them up and say, ‘How good or how bad am I?’ That’s where courage comes in.”
– Erma Bombeck
The grandfather of personal development, Earl Nightingale, used a great illustration to describe what I like to call VISIONING:
“Have you ever noticed that ships operate essentially the same way people ought to, but so few do? Maybe you’ve never given it much thought, but at any given moment, a ship has a direction and a destination. That is, either she’s sailing to a predetermined port of call, or she’s in port, getting ready to sail to another one. You can ask the captain of any big, far-sailing ship where they’re going, and they can tell you instantly – and in one sentence.
How many people do you know who can do the same thing? It seems that most people want too many different things – or at least they think they want them – they’re unable to focus their efforts, their minds, and their hearts on anything specific. And all this leads to is doubt and confusion. They’re like the guy who jumped on a horse and rode off in all directions at once.
They don’t recognize how vital it is to pick one port that’s important, then sail to it, rest and refit for a little while, and then sail to another port. In this way, in not so many years, a person can set and reach their goals, one by one, until finally they have a tremendous pile of accomplishments in which to take pride – they have all the things they want, just because they had the sense enough to realize they could do well with only one thing at a time.
There’s another analogy that fits here, and maybe it makes the most important point of all. If a ship tied to a dock for some reason had no place to go, she would stay there until she fell apart from rust and disuse.
A ship’s engine isn’t started until she has some place to go. Here again, it’s the same with people. This is why it’s so important that each of us has a port of call we want to reach – a goal – a place to get to where we feel will be better than the place in which we now find ourselves. If we don’t, we might never cast off. We might never start our engines and know the thrill of sailing a charted course to a place we can’t see for fully 99 percent of the journey. But we know it’s there, and we know that if we keep sailing toward it, we’ll reach it.”
Nightingale states what most of us already know, but struggle to put into practice: Does everything that we do and think align with getting us to our next port?
This is one of the reasons that I like the term VISIONING. Very few of us have one vision for our lives. Most of us stumble into a certain port and that action spurs us on to re-focus a stronger desire to reach our next destination.
“Visioning” has two key qualities. The first is alignment: focusing our strengths and our actions towards a specific destination. The second is clarity: clearly focussing ignites our Hungry Spirit (turns our ship’s engine on) to generate the emotional energy needed to accomplish our goal.
People without a goal, vision, or destination have misplaced the key to turning on their Hungry emotional engine. If enthusiasm is the spark to achievement, then a Hungry spirit is the engine that drives all other qualities!
In A Strategy for Daily Living, Dr. Ari Kiev wrote: “In my practice as a psychiatrist, I have found that helping people to develop personal goals has proven to be the most effective way to help them cope with problems.
Observing the lives of people who have mastered adversity, I have noticed that they have established goals and sought with all their effort to achieve them. From the moment they decided to concentrate all their energies on a specific objective, they began to surmount the most difficult odds.
The establishment of a goal is the key to successful living. And the most important step toward achieving an objective is first to define it. I’m sure you have at least 30 minutes a day in which to list your thoughts about possible goals. Set aside such a period each day for a month.
At the end of the time, choose from the possible objectives you have listed, the one that seems most important, and record it separately on a single card. Carry this card with you at all times. Think about this objective every day. Create concrete mental images of the goal, as if you’ve already accomplished it.
Focus on one objective at a time. Like a microchip, the brain, set on a target, will call into play those mental processes that will bring your efforts to fruition. Your actions will conform to your expectations, thereby bringing about the event. If you believe that you will reach your objective, you will continue to work at a task until you have accomplished it.”
In our last book, HUNGRY, I devote a chapter to the concept of VISIONING, and illustrate it with my story of sitting next to a pilot on a flight from Halifax to Calgary. As I proceeded to ask him every question that I ever wanted to know about being a pilot, he finally turned to me and said, “Hold it, Ryan! If we are going to do this, let’s start at the beginning… a pilot NEVER TAKES OFF UNLESS HE OR SHE HAS FOUND A SAFE PLACE TO LAND!”
Why is Visioning so important?
Because neuroscience tells us that what holds our ATTENTION, happens…
- “You become what you think about”
– Earl Nightingale
- “A man’s life is what his thoughts make of it.”
– Emperor Marcus Aurelius
- “A man is what he thinks about all day long.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
- ” All things are possible for one who believes.”
– The Bible, Mark 9:23
In our new Thinking Tendencies Model that we are successfully using with clients (part of our next book, coming soon), we use the term, Future Positive Thinking, to describe the mindset of Visioning. This F+ focus activates our personal energy, and at the same time brings common focus to the energy of our teams.
Developing clarity around a direction, a destination, a vision, a goal, and connecting this with a Future Positive mindset is the first essential ingredient to creating your next win!