Recently, my two sons got into a dispute over who would get the last of the ravioli during a family meal. Even though both still had food on their individual plates, they were instead focused on the little bit that was left on the plate in the middle of the table. Later, as I reflected on that episode with my children, it occurred to me that this was a perfect illustration of the characteristic features of a limited vision.
What are the characteristic features of a limited vision? I would say an excessive focus on the present, an unwillingness to consider alternatives, animosity within the group as each person focuses on his or her own interests, and, in the end, that lingering feeling of getting an unfair deal.
At CDH, we revisited our vision for our firm earlier this year. Our goal was to encompass the best aspirations of the employees within our firm with a view on making a difference for our customers and communities, being a great place to work, and supporting the individual goals and aspirations of our team members. In short, we sought a vision of a future filled with possibility and opportunity.
I recently attended a Seiwajyuku Chicago meeting where one of the topics of discussion was the importance of having a positive vision for the future. The speaker, Dr. Kazuo Inamori, was a junior high school student when the Pacific war ended in 1945. He recalled a teacher who one day told the class he “falls in love every day.” This was a shocking statement to a group of children who had just experienced the nation’s defeat in war and who were then experiencing the shortages and struggles of the immediate recovery. The teacher, however, clarified his point of view. Each day as he rode his bicycle to school, he saw the sun rising over the ocean and the great natural beauty of his country. At school, he saw the potential in the students working diligently in the face of difficult circumstances. The teacher saw a better future and found hope.
We frequently treat life as if it were some kind of zero-sum game. There is only so much left on the plate and everyone wants their “fair” share. It takes courage to move beyond such a limited point of view. It also takes a compelling and personal vision.
So, I challenge you to … Envision a bright future.