This is still not a productivity blog. But I will admit that I have been a bit preoccupied with the topic for the last week or so. This post is part of that thread.
A few days ago, I posted about committing to something I call “vision plus” as a productivity tool. Barf! Writing those words here again makes it sound like marketing BS. But take my word for it. There be truth in dem words and I am not the only one who thinks so.
Let’s say that you were a scout for the NBA. You see a lot of great talent in college basketball, not to mention the European leagues. But which players will be all stars in the NBA? And which will be duds? Over the years, teams have too often been surprised to find that their highly talented top draft picks are unable to make it big in the pros. Why not?
These people want to make it. They have every reason to do so. And they try to make it. But at some point, they fall short against the competition and they give up. This is generally not a physical problem. It is an attitude problem that I think we can explain in terms of vision plus. A lack of commitment to a vision of the future.
So these days, NBA talent scouts look for a strong “motor”. Players with strong motors are picked ahead of players without that. And what is in the motor? It is a work ethic that one can see in the play. It is the result of other stuff that comes before the game. Philly.com sports tells the story. The bottom line - the teams are more comfortable with a bit less flash and a lot more of that work ethic.
Fair enough. But here is the twenty trillion dollar question (yes, that is a pretty hefty hunk of change). Can the rest of us - average people who have average “motors” - strengthen our motors on a daily basis to build that kind of work ethic? Can we build the extra will power to enable us to live extra-ordinary lives?
Sure we can. And the first step is to decide that that is what we want. Wait a minute. The word “want” is not strong enough. Perhaps I should say that we need to believe something great about us in the future. To fall in love with that vision. So that we make a commitment to that vision. And hold on to that vision, no matter what. Whether that vision is being a great violinist or NBA champ or father. That doesn’t matter, as long as it fits your story. That is what I mean by vision plus. Do that and you open up the creative energy of the right side of your brain. The right side will help you will find ways to get there.
This is why I often ask young folks what they want to be in ten or twenty years. Being able to identify this or that profession is not the point. I am looking for the capacity to build a vision. Often the kids who have that capacity find it really hard to put it into words. But you can see it in how they talk about the future. These kids do better in life.
But it doesn’t matter how old you are. Until your last breath on this planet, you have a future. Are you in love with your vision of it?
FOLLOW - The thinking behind the above model is an attack on the idea that work ethic is primarily a moral construct (the protestant ethic). Sure the protestant ethic had beneficial effects on culture. But by fusing morality and value propositions, the protestant ethic also created a lot of confusion. For example, are the rich by definition, morally superior? Are the poor morally defective? It also is conservative by nature. Not favoring adventure or risk taking (those things that may endanger the rewards of good moral living). This type of conservatism is comfortable, like an afternoon at the country club. But it is not in vogue these days. Nor do I see it producing the most innovation or vibrant communities.