When there’s something you want, you create an action plan, mapping out what you’ll do to achieve your desired result as soon as possible or when it matters. A plan is an important step in materializing your aims, but it’s not as effective in moving you forward as a vision.
What’s a vision? A vision is an emotionalized plan, complete with the sensory data that comes along with having a first-person perspective on a given outcome. A vision allows you to inject all kinds of meaning and particularity into a desired circumstance.
Here are three characteristics of visions that set them apart from plans, making them excellent at inspiring action, and in turn, helping you achieve your goals.
A vision lets you experience the bliss of getting what you want before you get it
In his book The Power of Awareness, Neville Goddard speaks about the power in assuming the state of the wish fulfilled. He recommends envisioning what you want from the point of view of someone who already possesses the desired circumstances or results. In other words, when you imagine a desired state, always do so from the first-person perspective.
This is effective for two reasons — one, when you enjoy the feeling of already being in your desired state, you experience a point of view undiluted by the tensions that characterize an insecure perspective. As a result, assuming the state of the wish fulfilled encourages you to take the actions you would if you already had what you desired. It’s those very actions that render you more likely to take the steps that lead to your being in the ideal state.
What prevents you from having what you want is the fear that you are not good enough or are otherwise undeserving of the circumstances you crave. However, when you tap into a vision that includes your being in possession of what you want, you cut through the noise that dilutes the signal. You become the person who experiences desired results after you exit the paradigm keeping you apart from them.
A vision is a plan’s innovative second cousin, Particularity
I’m not sure how you make plans. As an example, let’s say that you create a calendar with goals for each week. Each day includes isolated activities that facilitate the meeting of your weekly goals. This is fine and good, but it’s also generic.
A generic plan doesn’t acknowledge your unique tastes, predicaments, desires, and complexes. Conversely, when you complement your detailed plan with a vision, you picture yourself taking all of the actions described on your calendar. This will strengthen your plan in two ways: while you’re creating it, you will account for the rooms, windows, seats, and time of day in which you will perform the needed actions. For this reason, your plan will respect factors like the amount of sunlight that will be in the room, or the degree to which you are able to maintain an upright posture. In this way, you’ll create a plan that is ergonomic to the energy levels and strength or durability of your attention span at particular times of the day.
Also, when you envision yourself taking action before you do it, the probability that you’ll follow through increases. You will already have set the groundwork for the neural wiring required for taking the action. So, not only are you creating a vision of the desired result, but you’re also creating a vision for the plan that will help your result come to pass. In this sense, you are embracing the process. Embracing or enjoying the process is the core ingredient in getting what you desire. If you cultivate the skill of enjoyment (and yes, this is a skill, not something you have to meet conditions for) you accomplish any and everything because you’re able to tweak your state of mind to accommodate any challenge.
A vision makes your five senses into your perceptive collaborators
What are thoughts made of? The building blocks of thought are the five senses: touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound. In neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), these are known as the sub-modalities. Everyone has one or two sub-modalities to which they are particularly susceptible. When you know the sub-modalities you prefer, you can leverage them to move you toward desired states. What do I mean by this?
I’ll use myself as an example. The sub-modality with the greatest influence over me is sound. I’ve always been extremely conversant with the voice inside my head. When I replace or complement that voice with the voices of others (in the form of audio books or lectures), it becomes a very powerful tool for influencing my behavior and point of view.
If you turn your plan into a vision, you can build it around the sub-modalities that are most likely to influence your behavior. If you’re visually inclined, you might find photos that encapsulate what you want and put them around your house or apartment. If you’re also oriented toward sound, you might use empowering audio content or build links between particular songs and desired actions.
The difference between a vision and a plan is that a plan is one dimensional — it tells you what to do and when but not why to do it or how.
A vision keeps you anchored to the urgencies of your own experience. Most importantly, with a vision you act from a place of empowerment, the driving force of any successful plan.