If you’re working for change, you need several layers of vision:
A vision of “better”
This is the change you’re working towards – a future that is (you believe) better than the present in a specific way.
In order to have a vision of better, you need…
A vision of the present
You need clear-eyed vision of the present. What seems to be working? What isn’t? What do you see that drives you to work for change? What do you see that is uncomfortable but unavoidable? What is good and important? What’s trivial? What’s wrong?
It’s easy to misunderstand the present. Simple example: an unequal distribution of chocolate between to brothers might be unfair – or might be have resulted from one brother eating faster than the other. So you’re going to need to have…
A vision of the past
How did things used to be? What has changed, for better and for worse? The only way you can hope to understand the present is by seeking to understand how we got here. This in turn will enable you to develop…
A vision of how change happens
It’s only once you see what things have been like in the past and how they’ve changed that you can start to draw a line connecting the two – how did we get here from there? How does change happen? Where do people, nations, technology, cultures come from? Who made the cultures and the built environment we inhabit?
Understanding the process of change and innovation brings you to…
A new vision of yourself
It’s back to that Steve Job’s quote: once you see that more-or-less everything artificial in your life was made – intentionally or by accident – by people just like you, you see anew your own potential to make, to build, to change things.
You’ll start to see what you can do – right now – and what you might be able to build over the long haul.
This vision of yourself will probably open up…
A vision of what you need to know
Now you know what you could do, the question becomes what you need to know and do next in order to bring about the result you hope for. It’s a vision that drives you to fill in the gaps, to acquire new tools that in turn sharpen your vision in all of the areas described here. The arts and sciences, faith and experience, learning from books and from relationships are lenses we can put on that enable us to see the present and the past more clearly, and predict the future with greater clarity – and change its course.