We live in a world that is changing faster than we as humans can currently internalize. We’re on the cusp of an exponential growth curve leading to a future that we may not even recognize. To succeed, we must develop visionary mindsets.
A visionary is someone who thinks about the future or advancements in creative and imaginative ways. Visionaries have strong, original ideas about how things might be different in the future, especially about how things might be improved. They often fight conventional wisdom because they see the world ahead in terms of what it can be. They have been called change makers, innovators, thought leaders, and Questers.
Visionaries are the people who invented broadcast television and wireless Internet, who launched astronauts safely into the frigid vacuum of space, and who dreamed up the combustion engine. They’re the people who bridge the gap between the present and the possible.
Throughout humankind's history, visionaries helped propel society forward. Galileo Galilei, Thomas Edison, Howard Hughes, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos (of Amazon), and Elon Musk (of Space X and Tesla Mot'ors) envision(ed) “the next big thing.”
Quite often, these innovators finish one groundbreaking project and move on to another. They work diligently to complete projects, and are not afraid to fail.
Sir Richard Branson started his first business as a teen, and soon made a fortune by starting a mail-order record business that evolved into the Virgin Records label. He also launched Virgin Atlantic Airways, and then Virgin Mobile. Branson’s newest venture, Virgin Galactic, is a private commercial spaceflight project that hopes to offer flights to space tourists aboard SpaceShip Two.
Visionaries articulate coherent ideas because their dreams express their core values. According to psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, visionaries usually first embark on a self-discovery journey to create a vision with an "authentic soul."
Quester visionaries share the important attributes of courage, daring, confidence and a stubborn devotion to an idea. They fight, disrupt, risk, push boundaries to change the way we experience the world. They are comfortable operating at the edge of chaos and ambiguity. They ask questions, think in nonlinear ways, and have social obligation, a sense of purpose, built around "doing well by doing good."
Questers, representing varied disciplines, must also be tough enough to bear up under intense public scrutiny, and continuously learn, grow, and contribute to humankind.
Elon Musk demonstrated tremendous courage and conviction when he invested nearly everything he had in SpaceX and Tesla.” Mr. Musk directs the development and manufacturing of advanced rockets and spacecraft with the aim of creating a self-sustaining city on Mars, among other things.
Antoni Ribas, a respected medical visionary and Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and professor at University of California-Los Angeles, is renowned for his pioneering research into immunotherapy and empathetic bedside manner.
Today's visionaries don’t rest on their laurels, and are not dragged down by failures. They learn from experiences and continue to move forward. They're confident, take risks, and assert themselves.
Tips for developing a visionary mindset
- Strengthen Quester skills. Questers, growth-oriented individuals with a sense or purpose, confidence, resilience, perseverance, and will to risk, are redefining how we look at careers and work. Questers are described in award winning Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life:https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963. Take the quester quiz: http://www.questersdaretochange.com/services-2/quester-quiz/
- Adopt the perspective of an outsider. Develop new ways of thinking about your organization. Connect disparate ideas. Reapply an existing technology into a completely new context. Connect different concepts, thoughts and theories to produce ground-breaking solutions.
- Cultivate meaningful relationships. Believe in yourself; others will be willing to believe in your vision as well.
Good relationships emerge from trust which is strengthened by personal example. Visionaries are genuine, approachable, open to suggestions, and trust and value others' opinions. They demonstrate teamwork, honor commitments, and hold themselves accountable. They often resolve problems collaboratively, working together face-to-face or in online workspaces with a focus on attaining desired outcomes.
- Challenge yourself. ’Consider varied ways to resolve problems. Ask, "why not?" to develop "out of the box" solutions for problem resolution.
Think synergistically. Synergistic thinking is a four-factor approach to learning/remembering. It strengthens learning by incorporating powerfully visual, emotional, and physical accelerators grounded in the power of analogy and association. This enables us to dig into new ideas and develop new solutions to old problems.
- Develop critical thinking skills. Obtain needed background and supportive information. Ask questions, identify problems and solutions. Interpret according to a framework relating theory to practice. Support a claim using evidence, linking ideas, comparing and contrasting.
Develop technical skills. These practical skills often relate to mechanical, information technology, mathematical, or scientific tasks. Examples include knowledge of programming languages, mechanical equipment, or tools. Although technology can do a lot of things, it still can’t think 100 percent like a human being.
- Trust and value intuition. Intend to develop it. Set aside time for quiet contemplation daily. Relax and calm the mind through such techniques as meditation. Attend to both internal and environmental cues. Release negative thoughts and feelings. Practice intuitive problem solving skills such as asking dreams for guidance, doodling, and journaling.
- Enhance problem-solving skills. Define the problem and get all the needed information. Using both intellect and intuition, describe the problem in terms of what, where, when, how, with whom, and why. Brainstorm alternative solutions without restrictions or judgment. Surround yourself with diverse stimuli. Engage all senses. For example, talk, sing, listen, and encourage ideas to flow.
- Strengthen creativity. Approach the problem from a different vantage point. Listen, without judgment, to others’ ideas or suggestions. Ask for feedback from people with different backgrounds. Avoid negativity. View your work from different perspectives. What would happen if you shrink, enlarge, or change its shape?
- Acquire knowledge and strategies from varied disciplines. As future cultures and economies become further intertwined, it's important to integrate information and strategies from diverse sources.