“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.”
Jonathan Swift was not short on vision. The Irish satirist, essayist, poet, politico, and priest from the 1700s was best known for writing Gulliver’s Travels.
Being a creative, I always am of the opinion that if a story doesn’t exist, then create it – and that is what Swift did.
Being able to see or imagine what is not there is an art in itself.
Imagination allows an artist to stare at a blank canvas with the comfort of knowing that something great will happen on it. It is invisible, but they know it is there somewhere.
Invisibility is what makes the creative process so much fun for creatives (and probably so frustrating for others who just can’t visualize it).
“The more the marble wastes, the more the statue grows,” stated Michelangelo.
Vision of the invisible allowed him (and us) to remove the marble (the clutter of wrong ideas) to reveal the masterpiece (the new idea).
In simpler terms, he had a marble block and he chipped away everything that was not David.
That is the creative process; chip away everything that is not the new idea.
As a result, a creative can get a brief and intuitively ‘know’ in an instance that they will have a fantastic solution.
Creatives ‘feel’ the final vision without knowing what it will actually be.
Everything remains invisible to the eye.
It is a process of removing the clutter of bad ideas, which eventually uncovers the new idea that was there all along – revealing it for others to see.
The counterpart of ‘vision’ is ‘reason’ or as Swift elaborates, “reason is a very light rider and easily shook off.”
‘Reason’ has its merits, but not in the creative process. In fact ‘reason’ is reaction-based, which is pretty much the antithesis to vision.
Vision leads us, reaction follows, and reason is left behind.
Being visionary can raise the bar of creative to a whole new level.
To be visionary in business can catapult a company into the future. Being a reactionary in business can be detrimental.
'Reason' can be efficient in time and money, but might not always bring the desired result, which is what vision brings to the party – the new idea. An idea that is extraordinary, that may have never existed before – that was invisible.
We must be cautious and not stymied by reason all of the time, otherwise we are playing a perpetual game of catch-up.
Richard Branson said it the best, “Don’t think what’s the cheapest way to do it, or the fastest way to do it…think ‘what’s the most amazing way to do it?’”
Let’s be visionary and let’s be unreasonable.