Tag Archives: vision

Need a Compelling Vision? Start with the Anti-Vision

hospital bed, shutterstock

Your creative, visionary self thrives on juicy details, but if you are like most people over the age of five, it’s practically impossible to specify a vision of what you want to create. Yet it’s easy to be very clear about what you don’t want.

My husband and I built on this principle when we named our fears before trying to write an advance health care directive so the best possible people know what we want and can speak for us when we can’t speak for ourselves. The creativity that emerged from detailing our fears led to a powerful support system that helps us thrive in sickness and in health.

What we learned can be applied to any dream or challenge, whatever your age. Continue reading

For a Breakthrough Vision, Get Naked

The number one place where visionary geniuses get their best ideas is in the bathroom.  Einstein said he had some of his best ideas while shaving, but for most of us, it’s the shower that does it.

Think of it:  there you are, divested of your usual social masks, so you’re not worrying so much about what others think.  You’re just focused on coming clean. Continue reading

If Congress Were the Visionaries We Need Them To Be

Without vision, we perish, or at least we get stuck with plans and agreements that impact everyone but serve no one.

Prime example:  the whole US Congress and our often spineless president, who have managed to lock us into a totally non-visionary plan aimed at avoiding default that in truth seems to make no-one but cable news pundits happy.  And for these pundits the only happiness lies in the fodder it gives them for more ongoing commentary.

Now I know the Congress isn’t totally to blame for this mess.  We’re all part of the culture that demands quick fixes and is addicted to fear, unfounded reporting, and blame.  We’re all at least partially the creators of an economy that puts our undiscerning trust into things like forever increasing housing prices and the big gambling casino masquerading as the stock market instead of finding a better way to discern what’s truly valuable. Continue reading

If Congress and our President Were the Visionaries We Need Them To Be

Without vision, we perish, or at least we get stuck with plans and agreements that negatively impact many but benefit only a few. That’s never been more true than it is in today’s political climate.

Rather than focus on all the things that are wrong and who’s to blame, let’s consider how we as an electorate inhibit our clarity about what matters and our visions of how to build a world that works for all of us. Today, it’s ever more critical that our vision of a great American is grounded in a vision of being one great nation among other great nations, equally called to heal our hurting planet and all who dwell upon it.  Continue reading

Without vision, we perish

Without vision, we perish or at least waste a lot of time and energy.  Guided by vision, we flourish and help others do so.

Want Economic Turnaround?  Create It!  Wall Street is too untrustworthy.  Government is too partisan, and media are too obsessed with who’s sleeping with whom to envision an economy that works for all.  Fortunately, fellow citizens are creating a variety of breakthrough ways to create a better economy.  Continue reading

The Mockingbird Solution to Blocked Creativity

Are you imagination challenged?  Do you want new ways to look at a pressing problem?

Look no further for inspiration and guidance than this video of a mockingbird singing.  Notice how easily this rather ordinary looking bird with white wingtips can shift tunes at the rate of about eight a minute.

With Its Ever-changing Repertoire, the Mockingbird Is a Great Role Model for Human Creativity

Some mockingbird tunes are imitations of other birdsongs, or riffs and variations on them.  Mockingbirds typically mix these usually pleasant tunes with imitations of less pleasant neighborhood events, like cat fights or ambulance sirens. Some tunes seem to be each mockingbird’s own inventions, for the sheer joy of it.

Mockingbirds have been known to sing for hours.  Many bounce up and down as they sing from the highest local treetop or TV antenna, thus projecting their music throughout the neighborhood.  Their ability to sing so continuously once royally bothered Thomas Jefferson, who thanks to a lousy mattress and a really great mockingbird outside his window throughout a night, slept little one night.

Unlike Mockingbirds, Most Of Us Have Learned To Repress Our Creativity, Not Use It

Though humans are born with the potential to be far more creative than mockingbirds, the high creativity that bubbles in us as five-year-olds is mostly repressed by the end of second grade.  One of the easiest ways to recover that creativity and develop it is to imitate the mockingbird:

1.      Temporarily suspend all judgment, premature practicality and other human habits that kill imagination.

2.      Dare to try something new at least once a day.

3.      Get around and notice what others are doing.  Then comment to yourself through writing, dance, art, etc.

4.      When you like something, copy it shamelessly unless it is copyright or patented.

5.      Feel free to mix, match and alter what you learn from others.

6.      Give your imagination time to play without focus, so it is free to generate possibilities for your consideration.

7.      Learn to tolerate dissonance and ambiguity, to weave harsh challenges into sweet thoughts to create a rich and satisfying symphony.

8.      Express yourself with exuberance and joy … forever.

Imagination is Just One of Many Creative and Visionary Potentials.


Whatever you imagine as a possibility will need to be fully fleshed out so it can become a true vision.  It will need grounding in reality and a lot of careful research before you can discern whether a new idea is likely to work or not.

In coming posts, we’ll explore other visionary potentials and how you can engage them.  In the meantime, have fun imitating the mockingbird’s prolific creativity!

As always, many blessings for your life and work, Pat McHenry Sullivan

Note:  this post was originally written as “The Mockingbird Solution To Almost Any Problem” in 1994 by Pat McHenry Sullivan.   Your comments are welcome below!

copyright 2011 by Pat McHenry Sullivan, t/a Visionary Resources

7 Signs You Need More Vision in Your Life, Work or Money Dealings

Have you ever worked hard to meet a goal, then found when you met it that it was the wrong goal?  Like you worked hard to gain success in the wrong career, and you don’t have a clue what your right career is?

Career confusion is one key sign that you need a true vision from your heart and soul. That means you need something more than a goal set by someone else or even a brilliant idea that you activate before you discern whether or not it matches your true needs, dreams or desires.  You need a clear, compelling vision that’s anchored in current reality and leads you to your most fulfilling future. Continue reading

Praying the News

How can reading or hearing the news be as much a part of your spiritual practice as studying sacred scriptures or everyday prayer?  How can the news help you clarify your particular service work when the needs and opportunities are so great?

Praying the News Begins by Being Fully Present To It

“Reality shows” can be watched as entertainment.  Genuine news demands that we be fully present to what is and allow it to affect us, even when there’s nothing we can do about it. That means honoring life as a mystery, not as a problem to be solved, but as a paradox where we are called to go deep into the heart of compassion without agenda or attachment to outcome. Continue reading

Visionary Role Model: Elizabeth A. Hausler, Ph.D. and Build Change

Earthquakes themselves kill very few people, despite popular movie images of the earth suddenly opening up huge crevices that swallow lots of people.  Poorly constructed buildings, however, routinely kill many people.  99% of those deaths are in poor countries, like Haiti or India, which lack earthquake resistance know-how, strict building codes (like those that have been in place in California and Japan for decades) and/or a non-corrupt government to enforce those codes.

And, oh, yes, money.  That’s particularly important in developing countries where very few people have the funds to make their new homes earthquake or storm resistant, once the international recovery funds dry up.

Some good news, reports earthquake engineer and founder of Build Change,  Elisabeth Hausler, Ph.D., is that “in a place like Haiti, building a house to withstand an earthquake can also help it to withstand a hurricane, particularly by tying the roof down to prevent it from flying off in strong winds. For earthquake-resistant design, the roof is often tied to the walls to provide some kind of bracing effect for the walls.

When India was devastated by a January 26, 2001 quake that killed well over 20,000 people,  Hausler was halfway through a civil engineering Ph.D. program at UC Berkeley. At the same time, she was undergoing an existential crisis:  how could she do something truly meaningful with her training?  How she turned that question into Build Change, which helps create safer housing in developing countries, is a textbook example of how the mind of a visionary works. Continue reading

Creativity By Guest blogger Kimberly Weichel

As we start a new year, I find myself thinking about creativity – often an overused word, yet not well understood. I really believe that everyone can be creative, and feel sad when others tell me they are not creative. “I don’t paint or play music” they say as to why they don’t feel creative.

Let’s be creative with the word creative. Creativity isn’t just in what we do, but in who we are.
Continue reading