What’s Hindering Your Vision?

 There are many reasons why individuals fall short of their goals or do not reach their potential. Reasons may fall into categories such as: financial limitations, physical limitations, time constraints, or intrinsic/extrinsic motivation, as well as many others.  These are all valid justifications and have definitely affected us all at some point in time, if not on a daily basis. However, I am going to discuss some reasons why people may be restricted because of how they perceive a certain situation and the related outcome(s). When a vision is not carried out (i.e. it does not become a reality), it can often be attributed to a ‘people problem’, or a problem stemming from the person and their individual thought process, regardless of any external stimuli or barriers.

There are ten types of people who will undoubtedly hinder a vision within themselves, or even within an organization. This list can also be looked at as ten personality traits relating to ‘vision hindrance’.

1. Limited Leaders – These people completely lack vision, or they lack the ability to share it. Having the ability to influence others, or share your vision is a requisite to being a leader of any sort. Having others alongside that share your ambitions can make a significant difference. If you have the ability to convey what you wish to achieve, then do it!

2. Concrete Thinkers – Individuals who constantly ask “Why?”. Although this can be seen as fundamentally sound, being a concrete thinker will restrict your ability to think outside the box. Ditch the “Why” question and start asking “Why not?” – This will lead you down a more imaginative pathway.

3. Dogmatic Talkers – Visions are often not realized or acted on because of a strong dogmatic presence – a seemingly unchallengeable belief that holds true with most people. Dogmas are dangerous and can trap you in a mode of thinking that restricts your potential. Here are a few examples:

  • “Everything that can be invented, has been invented.” Charles H. Duell, Director of the U.S. Patent Office.
  • “There is no likelihood that man can ever tap the power of the atom.” Robert Miliken, Nobel Prize winner in physics.
  • “Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” Lord Kelvin, president of England’s Royal Society.

I would like to point out that the few examples cited above are not words uttered by random individuals, rather they were truly believed at the time by individuals at the head of their respective fields. This resulted in a trickle down effect where the general public soon came to the ‘realization’. As we all know, every one of these dogmas has been proven wrong.

4. Continual Losers – Many people constantly reach into the past and look at their failures, fearing the risk of experiencing the feeling again. Failure is the opportunity to start again more intelligently. True failure is only experienced once nothing is learned.

5. Satisfied Sitters – It is human nature to be comfortable and secure in what you are currently doing, as well as during the decision making process that will affect your future. But how are we to ever grow if we never step outside of this comfort zone? It’s hard to do so. We often find ourselves riding comfortably, but this results in predictability and a lack of vision. Don’t be complacent with what you have and your current situation – expand your vision and good things will come. Not one person’s goal ever involved stagnation. Talk to the greatest athletes in any sport, or the most successful leaders in any field, and they will tell you the same thing. Their goals involve expansion, spreading their vision, or empowering others. Goals involving personal growth will fall on the opposite side of the spectrum to complacency, or ‘sitting comfortably’.

6. Tradition Lovers – These people are somewhat similar to dogmatic thinkers, but tradition lovers stick to what has been ingrained in the population or culture, or what has been stable and long lasting. Tradition lovers may come across as stubborn.

7. Census Takers – People who are afraid to stand out from the crowd. Census takers will always follow the majority. If they do have a change in perspective or vision, it is because the majority has also converted.

8. Problem Perceivers – People who are constantly looking at the problem and do not follow through with something as a result. Any goal or vision is going to involve overcoming obstacles – I find it hard pressed to refer to something as a goal if that were not the case. Here’s a wonderful quote for all the problem perceivers:

 “Nothing would get done at all if a man waited until he could do something so well that no one could find fault with it. ”

-Cardinal John Henry Newman

9. Self-seekers – People who are only in it for themselves, and as a result, rarely succeed. There are definitely some out there, but it is a selfish and extremely tough business to make it in. Human nature  revolves around altruism and cooperation. Not only is altruistic behaviour prevalent in humans, but in the overwhelming majority of living organisms. Some of the simplest forms of life are based on a symbiotic relationship – a relationship that depends on the interaction of two entities and is mutually beneficial.

10. Failure Forecasters – These are the pessimistic individuals, or the ‘negative nancies’.  They are always looking at the down side, and often spread their pessimism to others. Instead of dwelling on the negatives of an obstacle, look at opportunities  to overcome it. I would not recommend disregarding the negatives, but simply acknowledge them in a cost-benefit analysis and go from there – don’t get held up on them and let them deter you from acting on your vision.

Consider these ten types of people or personality traits as red flags, or obstacles to avoid. Although all of them may not be entirely avoidable, use them in moderation and try to be conscious of coming across as a ‘Satisfied Sitter’ or ‘Concrete Thinker’.  Thinking concretely is often beneficial and is a trait that a logical, grounded person would have, but this should be used in addition with an imaginative view, resulting in an expanded perspective on the situation.

I hope I have opened your eyes in terms of having a clear vision and not letting a skewed perception of a situation get the best of you. Look at the situation at hand and think positively, overcome barriers, and don’t be afraid to look at something from a different perspective.

Now get out there and don’t let anything hinder your vision!

References: ‘Developing the Leader Within You’ by John C. Maxwell

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