Without execution, vision is only a delusion
There is one thing great hockey players, great business leaders, great warriors and great friends all have in common: Vision.
Vision in this case is the ability to see the possibilities of every outcome of a constantly changing scenario. To be able to see more than just what is in front of you; to see what’s coming. That talent is what leads to tremendous success in just about anything that person does. Vision requires focus on an overall goal and a plan to get there, paying great attention to every detail, but not getting lost in them.
My vision focuses on two things. Is something an asset or an anchor? I apply this to literally everything, from my own habits, to people I surround myself with, to my investments, and how I spend my time. There are a lot of things I thoroughly enjoy that are not assets, such as movies… I never watch them. I don’t have a TV. I don’t have Netflix. When/If I retire some day, I’ll catch up on all the cool Marvel movies and Netflix shows. Maybe I’ll even binge watch One Piece. For now, those things won’t help me get to where I want to be in life.
Where I want to be in life is in a position to leave behind a legacy. In order to do that, there are a lot of fundamental steps that come before it. I am living my life in a way to disprove the order of requirements.
I think that once you have figured out survival, you can skip ahead right to legacy. There are many lasting impacts everybody can make; the Butterfly Effect, if you will. Maybe not all of us will have a street or a stadium named after us, but we can work together to support the person or project whose legacy is leaving a huge memorable mark. A series of thousands of menial tasks are quite boring if you miss the meaning behind why they’re being done.
Robert Assagioli, the founder of Psychosynthesis, tells a parable about the power of meaning to transform our experience of life:
Imagine an interview with three master stonecutters who are building a cathedral in the Middle Ages. Before speaking with these workers, you take a moment to watch them cut stones into blocks. As each man finishes cutting a stone, others take it away and replace it with another stone, which too is cut into a block.
After a while you approach the first man and ask him what he is doing. He turns on you in anger and says, “Idiot, use your eyes. I am cutting stones into blocks. When I finish one they bring me another. I have been doing this since I was old enough to work and I will do it until the day that I die.”
Stunned, you back away and approach the second man to ask the same question. But his response is quite different. He smiles and says, “I am earning a living for my beloved family. With my wages we have built a warm little house, we have food on the table every day, the children are growing strong. I am building a safe place for those I love.”
Going on to the third man you ask him your question. He stops his work and the face he turns towards you is radiant. “I am building a great cathedral,” he tells you, “that will offer comfort to those in pain and sanctuary to those lost in the dark. And it will stand for a thousand years!”
All of these men are doing identical work. Meaning does not change our lives, but it does change our experience of our lives. Finding a personal meaning, and especially one that is transcendent in the midst of routine tasks, opens our daily work to the experience of joy.”
Whether your name makes it onto the Stanley Cup, or just a banner hanging from the rafters of your local rink, it is that immortalization that satisfies a person in a way nothing else can. It is the promise that the hard work and sacrifices made will not be forgotten, or have been for nothing.
What we’re building here in the crypto industry takes vision to fully comprehend at this stage. It will be easier when all products are mature, when the UX/UI is well-polished, when you can tell your co-worker “It’s like Googling the blockchain.” and blockchain has become common-place enough where that statement makes sense to just about everyone. It takes vision to see beyond token price, beyond development bugs, and beyond how early users intend to apply the technology to themselves, to find the important meaning behind what we’re building. Long story short, we’re building mechanisms of trust.
I left my home and friends behind to be part of the legacy we’re all building here. I hope you’re all as excited as I am to be able to do our part to chip in.
The vision for blockchain is large cities being able to funnel their existing data systems into it and be able to cross-examine open data for the first time, to make more intelligent decisions, to prove management competency, and provide transparency of how taxes are spent (water, traffic systems, road maintenance, etc).
The vision for blockchain is revolutionizing the logistics, freight and shipping industries.
The vision for blockchain is verifiable identity that can’t be lost or confiscated in times of war, natural disaster. Whether the identity is for people or property. Everyone can participate, finally.
That’s just the big stuff we’ve imagined so far. What else will we all dream up? That’s the beauty of crypto; we are all visionaries.
So what makes a visionary successful? What is the difference between a bum who does nothing with their life, and a genius who never tries? Their impact on the world is the same net zero.
I should know; I’ve been both.
Ideas are well and good, but without execution and hard work to plant a solid foundation for that idea to thrive on, and then even more hard work to grow it until it can be its own sustainable environment, it is either a complete waste of time, or a fleeting moment at best.
Whether you gather raw ingredients for food to cook a meal, or you gather the ingredients needed to make a successful business or social movement, the next step is the same: Grind. Add some grease, and get to work. Keep on struggling to figure things out. If you take longer than a day to plan something, you’re taking too long. If you don’t take a full day to carefully consider a critical decision, your impulsiveness may come back to bite you. Figure out the high level end goal and then reverse engineer it from there. Discover the details and the perfect mix as you go. There is no perfect formula you can find in a college classroom or TED talk or podcast.
There is something to be said for persistence. A bad situation can be overcome. Failure is not achieved until you quit trying. But you have to try.
The hardest lesson I had to figure out was that the people who are capable of building your dreams into reality, already have ideas of their own that they like better cuz its theirs. I’ve given away a billion dollar business idea before… the company I worked for didn’t want to put the resources into building it. The company we gave it to never put any resources into it either. Both companies said they loved the vision, but failed to execute, and both are near extinction now.
It comes back on me for failing to take back my idea and execute it myself with another team, new capital, and be the leader. They thought they had better things to do. I do too. Was it really that great of an idea? Maybe someday, we will find out.
Looks like we’ve reached the crust…
(This article was originally published in 2018 and has been slightly re-edited)