The Long and Winding Road: Vision or Myopia?

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Recently, somebody asked me whether I thought ‘visionary’ type people were in fact just myopic workers who ‘got lucky’. Interesting thought, I am sure you would agree. Makes one think though, doesn’t it?

I had to sit and think about people in history, both ancient and recent, who in my opinion were ‘visionaries’ and conversely those folks who just happened to be the custodians of the natural unfolding of things. My list of ‘visionaries’ is probably similar to the one you are running in your head as you read this; Leonardo da Vinci and Nostradamus certainly tick the box for me in the ancient category, bearing in mind that ‘visionaries’ do not have to be correct all of the time. Modern day ‘visionaries’ were the likes of James J Hill and Bill Gates. Those not familiar with James J Hill will find he was a pioneer in the railway industry in the USA, developing routes across the country to open up hitherto untouched communities to the potential of trade. I class him as a ‘visionary’ because he did things which nobody had done, nobody dared to do and nobody believed would work. Bill Gates for much the same reason. These guys made people re-examine their definition of the world as they knew it and more importantly saw not only an opportunity but a shift in human behaviour before others knew it was even possible.

Your list may  be different but I am sure the people on it will tick similar boxes. Now to the ‘myopic’ worker type, perhaps a little more difficult to decide upon.Generally I think these folks are typically ‘one trick ponies’ who were in the right place at the right time and saw a chance to exploit a situation without actually furthering mankind. I know, Simon Cowell is on my list too!!!

Joking aside, we are surrounded by people who have been fortunate, been persistent and enjoyed a slice of luck along the way. Don’t get me wrong, I would take either scenario willingly but have to admit that being in the ‘visionary’ group appeals more than the ‘myopic’ group. Truth is, there are precious few true leaders in the world today and all too many ‘show ponies’ making a lot of noise but like the Emperor, they lack the substance required upon closer inspection.

I believe, there are ‘visionaries’ all around us but we discount their ideas because they challenge the perceived wisdom of the day. Nobody likes to have their psychological framework challenged by differing ideas, we tend to expend serious energy deconstructing new ideas rather than understanding them. Ironically however, when a new idea does emerge into the mainstream consciousness we often deliver a wry smile as we say  ‘that is such a simple idea, I wish I had had it!’

Here is a light hearted look at some visionary and not so visionary predictions in recent times…

Ultimately, I think we all should trust our instinct, hold on to our dreams and work diligently so that when the opportunity arises, we can seize the moment. As Gary Player once said , ‘the more I practice, the luckier I get!’

See you on the long and winding road……. Patrick

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