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What I Learned This Week: Why A Blindfold Is The Key To Building Vision

07/08/2013 11:09 EDT | Updated 09/07/2013 05:12 EDT

It's a term so incessantly trotted out and overused, it has stumbled into the rabbit hole of cliché and ineffectiveness.

It's a quality so important that people are measured by it, their careers defined by it, their businesses based, built and broken on it.

"It" is "Vision."

And despite its optical roots, a crystal-clear, wide-reaching vision is something increasingly hard to see.

As an example, in my hometown of Montreal, there's a mayoralty race about to start. Even though the vote is not until November, all three candidates have already been grilled about their respective visions...then criticized about the fuzziness of them, or the lack thereof.

"What is your vision?" is the first question asked not just of our political leaders (or those who aspire to be), but to young entrepreneurs as well. And the advice I gave to a group of them recently, combined with the timeliness of the aforementioned election, was the impetus for this post.

Like the oft-futile act of brainstorming, the search for a vision is usually done the wrong way in the wrong place. We sit in sterile boardrooms or offices, we sit in front of glowing computer screens or open paper journals and try to gaze into the future and -- even greater challenge -- come up with a way to describe it to others in a fashion that will not just make them believe it, but get off their butts to follow it.

And there lies the inherent problem: we try to "see" the vision.

This may sound trite, but the problem with establishing a vision is that we do it with our eyes wide open.

Go with me on this, but to truly establish a vision, you've got to slam your eyes wide shut.

That is why, in that speech to a group of eager future trailblazers...

I urged them to seek vision while blindfolded.

Not figuratively, but literally.

Eyes not just closed but wrapped up in heavy, opaque cloth.

Think about it--the "mind's eye" is where all of tomorrow begins. Tomorrow is essentially a dream. And if you are going to establish, and follow, a dream would you rather it be the somewhat lazy doe-eyed daydream, or a vivid, "anything goes" neo-hallucination created by deep, REM shut-eye?

So if you truly want to develop a vision, it needs to flourish in its natural habitat...a state enhanced by a blindfold.

A little kinky perhaps, and you may feel a bit goofy sitting with a black band covering your eyes while taking notes, but the results will bring you the last laugh. As they say, don't knock it until you've tried it. And may I admit, I've tried it more than once...which is why I felt more than comfortable advising that gathering of entrepreneurs to do the same.

So this week's lesson is simple:to build your vision, close your eyes and see.

See you soon!