#007 | Vision without action

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Vision without action is a daydream; action without vision is a nightmare

– Japanese proverb


Think about this for a moment: do you know in your heart that you’re supposed to do something or be something, but maybe too afraid to take the first step in that direction? Or are you taking action—pursuing something—without any sense of where you might end up, or even where you want to end up?

In episode 006, we learned from Muhammad Ali the importance of imagination. Vision is synonymous with imagination; however, the definition of vision takes it a step further. Vision is more than seeing, it’s the act of anticipation.

I just recently revealed to one of my best friends that I’ve always wanted to incorporate this (or something like it) into what I do. By this, I mean: using my gift of writing and speaking to directly motivate and inspire people. I mean, I’ve always done that with my art: my short stories, novels and screenplays, but I’ve only had the opportunity to publish one book so far. I don’t want you to have to wait for some grand gesture like that to perhaps benefit from something I have to say.

But honestly, I never took a step toward doing this because I felt like I wasn’t where I need to be—where some one should be—in order to help others from a motivational standpoint. I would say to myself something like: “Who am I to try to inspire somebody or build somebody up when I myself need that more days than I’d like to admit?” And it’s true—I always have to turn to a podcast or a book or meditation to brush off unproductive feelings that weight me down.

So this, for a long time, was just a daydream, because although I saw myself doing it, I wasn’t doing anything to make it happen.

The other part of the proverb talks about acting without having vision—essentially, walking with your eyes closed. My desire to incorporate motivational speaking into my resume was something I saw for myself and took time to hone. But sometimes we do things based on what someone else might want for use or what we think might be right, even though we have no clue where it might take us and if that destination is one we desire; meanwhile, putting up with the nightmare of bumping into walls, getting unnecessary bumps and bruises.


So think about it: do you have a vision that you’re not acting on? Or are you on the other side—acting on something with no blueprint, plan or idea where it’s going?

Today’s assignment: think about your current visions and your current actions. If you have the vision, write down one step or action you can take so that it’s no longer just a daydream; if you’re on the action side, stop the nightmare for day, and write two scenario about where you see this going.


Japanese proverbs are short didactic sayings, usually of ancient Japanese origin, that expresses effective some commonplace truth or useful thought.