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Vision and a Buffoon's Desire

These days everyone seems to have a "vision". If you want to be somebody, you are supposed to have a vision for the future. More profound it is, greater your image is. And if you don't have a vision, you cannot be considered to somebody of substance or importance. And many people have this firm believe that if they have a "vision" and share it repetitively with all and sundry, they automatically reach greatness.

My own personal take on this is that many buffoons have no idea what a vision is. They are consumed by the word due to the aura attached to it. They are taken away by this storm of "Vision Documents" floating around in the web. There is this Vision 2020 propounded by our Past President Shri APJ Abdul Kalam. There is this Vision 2015 explained by the Medical Council of India. And there are lot of such vision documents that one can have access to.

My own understanding of the idea called "vision" isn't perfect. But then this post isn't about my understanding, but how many people loosely use the word just for the heck of showing off.

I understand "vision" to be an amalgam of foresight, revolutionary thought, with or without social aspect, desires clearly spelled in the form of quantifiable objectives which can be accomplished, the methods and process to reach those objectives. Vision is tied to the clarity on how to accomplish that as well. Vision isn't about knowing "what" one wants to do. It is also about knowing "why", "when" and more importantly "how".

To draw a parallel, I can only recollect the discussion on basics of economics from my school days, when people used to confuse between needs, wants and demand. Demand is a want backed by a purchasing power. Demand has nothing to do with need. It is the "Want" that starts the concept of demand, and the "Purchasing Power", the ability to fulfill that "Want" concludes the idea of demand. The example that I can recollect is about a village where people used to walk barefooted, since they did not have the money to buy footwear. There was a "need" for footwear, but no demand, simply because those poor souls had no money to buy what they "needed".

Likewise, the idea of "Vision" and "Desire" cannot be one and the same. We can desire anything to everything. Desire is more like a "need". It has to backed a knowledge about how to accomplish. At some level, vision is far more profound than the idea called desire. Vision looks at elevating a condition to something better. 

An old lady "desiring" to see her grand child get married can never be regarded as a "vision". There is nothing revolutionary about it. A few people "desiring" to play a game of poker or chess again cannot be regarded as "vision". Would you regard the intention or plan to watch "Vishwaroopam" by driving from Chennai to Bangalore as "Vision"?

Merely because the desire sounds profound does not make it a vision. If I desire to see my country as a Developed Nation, does it make me a visionary? Especially when I have no clue as to how to do that? Merely because the intentions are noble or good or profound, does not make the person a visionary, or his desires to be regarded as a vision. 

Vision is what Naryanamoorthy had, when he desired to create one hundred dollar millionaires out of the Indian middle class. He had a plan. The Late Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao had the vision to take India to the next level of economic growth. He desired and implemented the same with some much needed shake up of economic policies. 

To be sure. Vision is not person specific. It is the vision and the conviction of the person to make it see the light of the day that makes the person great. It is the not the prerogative of the current leaders or business heads. It is the vision that makes a person great leader. And merely because a person is a leader doesn't mean that his every thought or desire is a vision. And those who think what they have is a vision should necessarily test that for the some of the parameters discussed above.

People who confuse "desire" with "vision" are the same who can't differentiate between "thoughts" and "actions". They are the people who believe that their mere "noble or elevated thought" should be regarded as a mark of greatness. And such people should be aware that they belong to the bottom among the lepers, and not among the leaders.


JRSD said…
As one suffering from overuse and even abuse of these words I would like an answer to this question - Why do we need a vison at all?

"May be to get more clarity. Why do we need clarity? To achieve success in material life. Why do we need success in material life?" I have no answer to this one. Looks like some pointless pursuit. Why do we need to have a vision at all when the whole of life looks like one great day to create history which will be erased from memory (of you and the public) before the next day begins. You start the next day as a fresher. Why cant we float through our day doing what we need to do with our best efforts and live through the day without pressure or pain. (Read day as life.)
JRSD said…
Q2 )Do just enough work to be comfortable enough and happy. Is this statement more practical and preferable than a "vision"?
G Saimukundhan said…

To be sure, this post isn't about why one should have vision. It is about those half-baked hare-brained nuts which would like the world to believe they are visionaries.

As you have identified and further answered, nobody needs a vision. All one needs is a clearly defined desire, and even more clearly defined plan. The desire can be as simple as eating a cup of chat or finding some solution to complex statistical problems.

THe trouble with lot of people is that they believe they would be part of "History Books" if they can somehow project themselves as more of a visionary leader and a winner. May be it is their shot at immortality.

I can't really comment if "Work Enough to be Happy", is practical or preferable with the entire idea called "Happiness" being one big variable. But it surely is the most sensible take on life.


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