A principle is an idea by which we are meant to achieve some predetermined goal. It’s usually known as a general rule; an observed truth. Something worth the effort it takes to follow. Oftentimes in life, we find ourselves searching for such things as principles, for we often find ourselves lost before we even realize. For truly, life is a grand maze in which no one knows the way. Yet by some way there are those few who manage to find the coveted end. But it must be understood that this is by no means an accident. One simply cannot expect to get where they’re going without some form of direction. And that’s exactly what a principle is. Principles apply to all aspects of life – school, family, relationships - you name it. And when it comes down to it, it goes without saying that leadership is no exception.
A great leader once said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” This could not be truer. The quote in and of itself is a principle. It stands for the idea, the general truth that the future does not occur of its own accord. Hardly. Any future worth living is takes work, dedication, and above all vision. Vision being at the very core of this principle, and for that matter it could be argued to be at the core of the finest leadership as well. For who wants to follow a blind man, a man without reason or any need or care to look where he is going. Just what would it be like to work under someone who doesn’t even know what they are working for – or heaven forbid don’t know why they are in power at all.
Keep Your Eyes Forward
James M. Kouzes put it best when he wrote, “Being forward-looking—envisioning exciting possibilities and enlisting others in a shared view of the future—is the attribute that most distinguishes leaders.” It’s just simply true, there’s no way around it. To be better, to lead better, to get the job done better, you must understand exactly what it is your looking for. And as for me, this idea of vision, of having a purpose to getting up and getting the job done, has made all the difference.
This principle has helped me to achieve so many of my goals. Goals ranging from academic success to leadership positions, having a reason behind my trying to achieve these goals has given me all the more motivation. And most of the time, such motivation was much needed. For it needs to be understood that many times as a leader, and even just as a person, one will experience many things that are unpleasant or unsavory – things by which many a goal are shot down and many a dream is crushed. It is in these moments that such motivation and reason and purpose are most truly needed. Vision is a very powerful thing indeed. This idea of vision, of having a purpose to getting up and getting the job done, has made all the difference.
A Cohesive View
The principle of vision is not to be solely utilized by the individual of course. If anything, the main objective of vision is to be a tool that is wholly beneficial to the collective. Vision is the glue by which groups are held together. It can be argued that for a leader to be truly great, the future he envisions is not comprised singularly of his own thought, but of the composite thoughts of his peers around him.
The previously cited James M. Kouzes, writing for the Harvard Business Review, put it this way, “The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present. The only visions that take hold are shared visions… The best leaders are able to bring their people into the future because they engage in the oldest form of research: They observe the human condition.” What a way to put it indeed. To put it this way it means for one to understand that a leader must first be willing to sacrifice for the good of the group. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what leadership is?
As members of a unified country we share the collective vision of our peers. We partake in the idea that all people are deserving of certain rights, benefactors of certain truths. To be a good citizen should require a vision unmatched - a reason for action unparalleled.
Something to Strive For
This is the goal I have set for myself, this alone is the objective I strive for as a member of society – to have that vision unmatched, and to enact my change through actions unparalleled. To do anything less would be a disservice not only to my fellow countrymen, but a waste of potentiality. For the principle of vision is a driving wind by which the sails of change may be unfurled. Yes, you may have to first untie them from the mast, but from there you can let the unfailing sea gale of vision to carry you to the promised land.
That promised land being a more perfect form of leadership, and a better future for all. For it has once been said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” So, I say, let's go, let us create our future. All we need is a little vision.