How to Fulfill Your Personal Vision
By Deepak Chopra, MD
In every age there has been a dominant worldview that people tried to conform to. In an age of faith, everyone asked how they could better serve God. This was their daily concern. In the Industrial Age the question shifted to economics and improving one’s lot in life. In an age dominated by science the question shifted again — people asked every day how they could keep up with progress and add to it. As times change, so do people’s vision of what is important, and usually they thought they had a better vision than the one which preceded them.
Yet if you back away to see the bigger picture, each age had one thing in common, and it wasn’t God, economics, or progress. It was the fundamental idea that life is well lived only if you have a vision. Without one, purpose and meaning are limited.
It turns out that the one question you should ask every day is this: How can I fulfill my vision today? Whether they put it exactly in these words, this is the secret behind the greatest success stories. Someone dedicated his or her life to a plan, project, or set of values larger than any individual. A worthy vision, I think, needs to fulfill certain criteria.
1. Your vision should be suited to who you really are. It can’t be borrowed from someone else, and it can’t be chosen out of obligation. Your parents may desperately have wanted you to follow the family business or go to medical school because they weren’t able to. Those are laudable motives, but it’s risky to adopt a vision that isn’t really your own.
2. Your vision should be valuable no matter how much money you expect to make. Of course, you can always make it your vision to get rich, but there are two problems with that. First, the day you arrive at a financial goal, it will tend to feel empty. Second, a life totally devoted to money never stops. Making more and more — greed and competition fuel an insatiable desire.
3. You should compare the visions that seem most appealing, which means doing research and dipping your toe into more than one pool. Philosophy, religion, science, business, and scholarship are rich with potential, and you owe it to yourself at least to sample what they are like.
4. Your vision should be ambitious. the old saying that a man’s reach should exceed his grasp still holds true (or a woman’s reach). Settling isn’t visionary. Pick something that will feel like a challenge every day for as long as you can see into the future.
5. Finally, don’t lose sight of two words that often escape notice when someone has burning ambition and drive: happiness and love. The more you can increase these two qualities, in your life and the lives of others, the more worthwhile your life will seem as it unfolds. A hugely successful life devoid of happiness and love is what Scrooges are made of.
DEEPAK CHOPRA MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and Chopra Global, a modern-day health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. Chopra is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego and serves as a senior scientist with Gallup Organization. He is the author of over 89 books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. Chopra is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego and serves as a senior scientist with Gallup Organization. His 90th book, Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential, unlocks the secrets to moving beyond our present limitations to access a field of infinite possibilities. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.”