Gouache on paper, 2005

Recently picked up “Entrepreneur’s Helpline” by AIM Dean of the Asian Center for Entrepreneurship, Alejandrino Ferreria, and was pleased to be reminded of the importance of vision—be it for a business, company or oneself.

He says vision is not invented but discovered, the fundamental question being “How do you see yourself many, many years from now?” Always in reference to the future, to something better than the status quo (He says an entrepreneur must find the status quo unacceptable).

Yesterday, I tried motivating 15 high school kids from Cavite to flesh out their personal visions, using Ferreria’s guidelines and various self-mastery tools I’ve picked up from advertising and creativity classes:

  1. List your core values: Include universal, cultural, and personal values which are important to you; shortlist to 5; subject them to a stress test (if you rate honesty as a non-negotiable, would you return money that you found in a cab? P1,000,000? What if it’s an even bigger amount? If your answer is consistent, then you’ve found your core value).
  1. Ask yourself:
  • Where am I?
  • Why am I here?
  • Where am I going?
  • How do I get there?
  • Am I getting there?
  1. More on Self-discovery- Fill in the blanks:
  • I really enjoy… (15 things)
  • I am really good at… (15 things)
  • I am interested in… (10 things)
  • In ten years, a famous paper is to do a feature on me, planning to interview three people closest to me–a parent, sibling, friend. What do I want them to say about me?
  • I admire… (3 people)
  • I secretly admire… (3 people)

These tools are to help one formulate his/her vision, which is a statement that must be unique (it can’t be anyone else’s), and it must excite (inspire, not frustrate: “Mukhang imposible, pero kaya!”).

My personal question (quest?) now: WHAT IS THE FILIPINO VISION? Among the Presidents I’ve lived through, I can remember Ramos as the only one who provided a vision (operative word: provide). I know Malaysia and Korea had contemporary leaders with visions…

Off the bat, I would start with this–The Philippines: politically and economically efficient, ethical and resilient, with a citizenry united in the pursuit of everyday excellence.

More on this later.

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On the side, I like how a friend describes Tony Meloto of Gawad Kalinga: “He provides the vision for the project.” He says he’s truly a visionary–to me, a word with such magic resonance. People I know who’ve met him or at least heard him speak have been unanimous in saying he’s an inspiring man. His Vision 777 for Gawad Kalinga aims to provide 700,000 Homes in 7,000 Communities in 7 years, with a firm deadline on 2010. As of today, they have built hundreds of thousands of homes (but still less than halfway through), have penetrated 500+ Communities, and still have five years to go to complete the dream.