The Vision Thing
Wednesday, March 01, 2017
Vision is connected to our perception. The video, "Celebrate What's Right With The World," teaches what a powerful force having a vision full of possibilities can be. In this video, Dewitt Jones states the following: "For 20 years I worked for National Geographic photographing stories all over the globe, creating extraordinary visions. I learned a great deal from these visions; about society, about geography, about people. But the vision that most changed my life was not photographic. It was an attitude, a perspective that exists at the core of the National Geographic. A vision so simple, yet so profound. A vision I'd like to share with you: Celebrate What's Right with the World. When I was growing up I used to hold that maxim: I won't believe it until I see it, yet the more I shot for the National Geographic the more I realized that I had it backwards. That the way it really works is, I won't see it, till I believe it. That's the way life works. Well I believed it, I believed the vision of the National Geographic and the more I did the more I'd see it in everything."
A good vision means that you have meaning and purpose in your life. It means you have a positive outlook. In fact, a person's positive outlook helps their vision become a reality, for it becomes fuel for living out that vision.
A vision is a dream in action. Optimists have a dream. They hold onto it when passing through life's dark valleys. They will live and die for their vision. This important truth is well illustrated by Victor Frankl, a psychiatrist from Vienna who survived the Auschwitz concentration camp. Frankl found that survivors had something to live for – a golden thread of hope.
An optimistic person identifies something to live for and then takes positive action in achieving that dream. This makes life worth living. "It is a peculiarity of man," wrote Frankl, "that he can only live by looking to the future . . . And this is his salvation in the most difficult moments of his existence."
"Optimists count their blessings. Pessimists count their burdens."
Eugene Lang, a successful self-made millionaire, had graduated from P.S. 121 Elementary School in Harlem and was invited back as the commencement speaker for the 1981 graduating sixth grade class. As he spoke, he looked at the 52 students gathered there and sensed he wasn't getting his message – the fact that they had a future – through to them. He laid aside his notes and gave an unplanned talk that changed their lives forever. He reminded them of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. He told them that everyone must have a dream if his or her life is to go anywhere. He emphasized the value of education and of going to college but then realized that most of them couldn't afford it.
"Don't think for a minute," he said, "that you can't go to college, because you can."
He then promised to pay the college tuition for every student who would go on and graduate from high school. For the first time, many of the students sensed hope, and started developing a vision for their life. One student said, "I had something to look forward to, something waiting for me. It was a golden feeling." Although Mr. Lang sat down that day to a cheering audience, he knew that money alone wasn't the answer. He created a support structure of teachers, parents and community that together worked with the students in order to help them manifest a vision for their lives.
Past history had predicted that of the 52 sixth graders in that class, only 25% would graduate from high school. And of that 25%, almost none would go to college. But, thanks to Mr. Lang and the support of others, 48 of the 52 sixth graders graduated from high school, and 40 attended college.
In The Future Focused Role Image, Benjamin Singer reports that, in his research, IQ and family background were not key indicators of successful students. The characteristics that all successful students shared was a profound and positive vision of their future.
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