There is nothing that drives the trajectory of life more than vision. Where we are looking determines where we go. Implicit or explicitly stated, vision is what motivates us. We may borrow a vision, or discover a vision aligned with our values and passions. The inescapable reality is that vision drives human thought and behavior. Because of this we need to be able to measure its efficacy.
When I was a kid, there was one day a year where the public school system offered us hearing and vision tests. It made the elementary me as nervous as a math or science quiz made me feel. What if I failed? What if I can’t actually see? I heard in the fourth grade about color blindness and how people have no idea they have it until a test tells them that what they thought was yellow is actually something else.
How Do We Measure
As an adult, the ‘vision’ for my life is more difficult to measure. How do I know if I am on the right track? Is this best? Am I wasting my time? There is no standard chart for me to stare at and nervously share the letters I can see.
The unfortunate truth is that vision is difficult to measure. But here are three ways to evaluate if you are living a true and accurate vision.
The first test is the question: does your vision align with your values? The hard work of true and honest introspection helps us to name our values. If we haven’t done that, it is the place to start.
As we start to evaluate where we are headed, the first and most crucial step is to figure out if our vision and values are in agreement.
How True Can You See
This provides a few challenges. Not the least of which: we are super good at deceiving ourselves.
An important way to help measure vision is to live in community, to test and question perspective with other humans. We can become isolated in our thinking. Even within community, we can surround ourselves with the kind of people who agree with us. Diversity of perspective strengthens community and helps refine our visibility.
The truth is too complex for any one of us to truly grasp. Living in community helps us to discover more truth. And truth is the lifeblood of vision.
The third thing that helps test our vision is exploring the fruit it bears. Am I “successful”? The key here is to be open-minded about what success means.
The vital weights for measuring success are not money and power. The weights and measures consists of tough questions like: does this make me come alive? Does this edify others and our attempts at community?
When we are living a fulfilled life, there are things we are doing that bring wind to our sails; they are like oxygen for our souls. It’s not always easy. I’m not talking about some giddy ecstasy. I’m talking about an inner peace, a contentment. Some get it while writing or talking deeply with others, some in nature and some through teaching.
The test of vision is not the fruit of positive circumstances but the peace of inner fulfillment.