The Politics of Preparedness Part II
What Montana Must Have in its Next Governor
‘The Need in a Word’
This past weekend I was on a brisk walk when suddenly I realized that I had come to a complete stop, but didn’t know why. Then, after an awkward moment I remembered that I had stopped to think and then simply forgot to start again. At least I knew where I was and where I was going or things might really have gotten embarrassing. As I resumed walking, I realized that as long as I remained focused on my destination; where I had been and how I had gotten there, it really didn’t matter much in light of my destination. Even if I couldn’t physically see where I headed, the vision of the objective is what mattered most. Knowing where I was headed was the very thing that was going to get me there, regardless of the time and distance between my present location and where I really wanted to be. So, even though I was tired and in some pain I began to focus not on the walk, but rather upon the destination. The vision of that destination is what the pain, the struggle and effort were all leading up to - the place I wanted to be.
After reaching my destination I paused again and began to reflect on the word vision and how it could impact not only my life, but the lives of those around me. A couple of quotes came to mind:
“There is no more powerful engine driving an organization toward excellence and long-range success than an attractive, worthwhile, achievable vision for the future, widely shared”, were the words penned by leadership expert and best selling author Burt Nanus.
Helen Keller, the woman famous for overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles including a lack of physical sight was quoted as saying that “The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision.”
The book of Proverbs reads, “where there is no vision the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18).
Wow, how does any of that apply to my life today? Other than getting me home from my walk of course. As I continued to mull over the application of the word it occurred to me that the state of Montana is for all practical purposes, an organization. As such, “excellence and long-range success” for the state as a collective organization is tied directly to the concept of vision. Perhaps we don’t often speak of it in these terms but if you stop and think about it (please don’t forget to start again) the future of our state: politically, socially, financially and even environmentally has not been decided. The future is not a destiny, but a decision that we make today.
In our personal lives we all have dreams, desires, and a hope for the future; but how often do we stop to think on a broader scale of what we want for the future of our neighborhoods, our communities, and our state? What is your dream for Montana five years, or five generations from now? Is it attractive and worthwhile? Does it include a sustainable prosperity that benefits each and every citizen of the state? Or is it simply more of the same? Are you a parent or do you plan to be one? What is the Montana that you want for your children, their children and yes even their grandchildren? Have you shared that vision with others or can you even put it into words? After all the definition of a dream that cannot be shared with others is a fantasy not a vision.
Only when a dream is spread can it becomes infectious, but when it does it also becomes an unstoppable driving force propelling all that share it; toward a common destination. Perhaps this is why without vision a person with physical sight is most pathetic. For without vision there is no hope because it is hope that overcomes. In this regard, vision is not just an objective; vision empowers that which is seen. The vision itself becomes the motivation to continue, the courage to endure, the strength to overcome, and the burning desire to succeed.
OK I thought, so I get that, but without vision people perish? Then I remembered the words of Henry David Thoreau, who said, “in the long run men hit only what they aim at”. If we do not have a vision for our lives how can we ever be, more than what we are now? We will never reach, never achieve, and never move beyond where we are because we cannot hit what we cannot see. Therefore, without vision, there is no future only the present and all we will ever have, ever will be, or ever become is that which we already are today. The future of this state is no different. It is a choice and the choice is yours. So I ask again, what do you see?