I remember reading the word “visionary” to describe an early church saint. But it also came to identify someone with farsightedness and innovation as a visionary. Or as Dr. Martin Luther King stated, “I have a dream.” For instance, for more than 20 years, neuropsychologist Antonio Puente Ph.D has been working to ensure psychology’s seat at the health-care table. Puente, never envisioned himself as an advocate for psychology. But in 1989, as president of the North Carolina Psychological Association and a neuropsychologist with a private practice, he decided to push for better reimbursement for neuropsychological services. Thus, he became a visionary.

Then, Dr. Art Markman tells us that in 2008, one of the big factors that helped to sweep Obama into office was that he was seen as an inspiring and visionary leader.  The country was mired in two wars, and an economic crisis threatened to plunge the US into a depression. In that context, Obama’s campaign speeches about hope and change resonated with the voters.

Then in 2016 real estate Entrepreneur Donald Trump was elected President with the vision to “Make America Great Again.” He found the Army depleted of weapons, the Air Force having to salvage spare parts from other airplanes, and the Navy far behind other nations in warships. It wasn’t that he wanted to go to war, but to prevent war through strength. Therefore, he was a visionary for peace.

Psychologist Eric Haseltine says there are several ways to become a visionary. One of those is to reject willful blindness. That means, looking for alternate or extraordinary ways of solving problems. The answers are not always out in the open, you have to search for them. Another thing is that in order to become a visionary you must see what others don’t see in relationship to potential. As the old saying, “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” Another thing is to treat the “unexpected” as possibilities. So, instead of not paying attention to such improbable events, pay special attention to them. Then look for opportunities that might develop if they came into being. When it happens, then you will be thought of as a visionary.

Then, Justine Musk, the first wife of multi-billionaire Elon Musk gives some insights:

Coming out of the shadows in our lives.” Live and learn to hear the words, “I didn’t think you had it in you!”

How crisis forces complacency to be thrown out the window.” How many people have reported that during a crisis they were able to do things they never thought possible under normal circumstances?

Learning to read your life like a mystery novel and searching for clues.” It is what solves mysteries about our behavior, attitude, and response to any given circumstance.

Finding the things in our lives that lead to creative renewal.” When the old way doesn’t work anymore, look for something new.

Learning to use our creativity to show the world who we are.” Some people are afraid to try new ways of dealing with something that needs fixing because they are afraid of failure. But, that in itself is a failure.

Developing an unwavering conviction and commitment.” How many times have you seen a jigsaw puzzle laying on a table unfinished, or a crossword puzzle only half completed, or a car up on blocks in a person’s garage with parts all over the floor that have been there for years?

Learning to steer yourself in the direction of your strengths.” Too often we concentrate on our weaknesses as a reason not to try while our strengths go unused and miss opportunity after opportunity.

Becoming motivated by process instead of product.” A good product only comes after a successful process. Ask any innovator how many prototypes they made before coming up with the finished product, or ask a best-selling writer how many drafts they went through before publishing the final story?

Having faith in your own uniqueness as a person.” Just like snowflakes, no two people are exactly alike, not even twins. How many different types of Oyster Stew are there; how many different recipes are there for Black Forest Cake; why do we have such a variety of automobiles, computers, etc. Yours does not need to be like everyone else’s. Make it your own.

The role adversity plays in reaching extreme success.”  Don’t look at setbacks, failures, hardships, or misfortune scare you away. The way a cowboy wins a riding championship is by grabbing the rope on a rearing bull or a saddle horn on a bucking bronco and holding on the clock says he won.

The Bible is not quiet about the need for visionaries. King Solomon said, “If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what He reveals, they are most blessed.”[1] And the prophet Joel shares what God had to say, “After I have poured out my rains again, I will pour out my Spirit upon all of you! Your sons and daughters will prophesy; your old men will dream dreams, and your young men see visions.”[2]

And, this was God’s message to Habakkuk, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.”

So, how do we get a vision? How can we become a visionary? King David said it best, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”[3] Why would you want anything other than what the Lord wants you to have? The Apostle James tells one important step to take: “If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask Him, and He will gladly tell you, for He is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask Him; He will not resent it.”[4]

“So,” says the Apostle Paul, “here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”[5] – Dr. Robert R Seyda

[1] Proverbs 29:18

[2] Joel 2:28

[3] Psalm 37:4

[4] James 1:5

[5] Romans 12:1-2 [The Message]

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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