Helen Keller was left blind and deaf at age 19 months from a childhood illness. Yet, she became a brilliant author and lecturer who graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College. The story goes that she made a speech on a college campus and during a question and answer session a questioner asked her the following: “Tell me Miss Keller, is losing your eyesight the worst thing in the world that can happen to anyone?”
“No,” she replied. “It’s losing your vision.”
You see, eyesight is what we see in front of us. Vision is all the way down the road.
Paris is good (or as good as we get) about goals; finding something to do or some kind of thing, like a plan, that will be the process or a product that will solve all our problems – but Paris has confused goals with vision for years.
There is little to no vision.
Somehow, leadership has restricted community and economic organizations to goals, because we think goals are objectives.
Evidently, we don’t know how to formulate a realistic vision.
A vision isn’t about processes or products. Vision doesn’t do the planning and it doesn’t anticipate the obstacles. It provides a real idea of what is possible, if only you want it badly enough.
Vision comes out of principles – guidelines for action and behavior.
Goals alone will not solve Paris’ problems.
Just as a government action, generally, is to meet a goal instead of following a principle, the issue remains. And government must react to meet another goal – a bone of contention in the same issue – which led to additional controversy. So, now, 241-years later, we’ve gained a government with 18-million employees and not many principles.
Paris’ future will be the result of a vision (or non-vision) based on the values of our principles.
What are the values that guide our organizations which are in charge of community and economic activities? Are they based on principles that are timeless and easy to grasp, even if they’re sometimes difficult to live up to?
You know the answer.
Our citizens have almost stopped running for a seat on the city council. A main reason why is that there is no vision that inspires people to invest their time and energy to achieve it. Why spend hours, days, months, years, squabbling over some issues?
Paris spends its days arguing some goal, some step, something of today, that needs fixing, repairing, replacing, or re-doing. This is not a vision. Neither does it inspire citizens to action. It is a waste of our todays.
If you pile up enough todays, kid, there’ll be no tomorrow…
A vision is not where you are today, but on where you want to be in five years, or 10, or 25.
Paris should be thinking about the direction we want to take and the obstacles we will have to overcome in order to succeed. Currently, our vision is to hand-out hundreds of thousands of dollars for community and economic development experts who can only see.
Vision without action is a daydream.
Action without vision is a nightmare.