Use these principles when considering the vision for your life.
The higher the vision, the stronger or more mature you must become to achieve the vision. The better the vision, the more virtuous your action must become to achieve that vision for the future.
So it's always good to do the deep work of growing your character and your skills. Strong character is the only thing that can genuinely sustain you to reach a pure vision and have peace along the way. You might achieve some parts of a big idea with seriously flawed character, but you will be miserable and cause great suffering.
Virtuous living requires you to take action on principles that you hope will get you closer to the vision. Identify the essential principles that will point you toward your vision.
The higher the vision, the more meaningful it will be. We humans are meaning-making machines. The more significant the story of your dream, the better it can weather the storms of uncertainty you will face.
The more valuable the vision, the more scarce it will be. Things are valuable if they have both scarcity and desirability. Serving others is one of the rarest actions you can take. Focusing on what you can give and the value you can create for others is a powerful way to have a meaningful life and develop character. This approach will be demanding, but that is why it is so valuable and meaningful.
The higher the vision, the more risk required. It will take facing danger and uncertainty to achieve a valuable dream. Having a vision for something means it's far off, so it's not immediate or easy to attain. It's uncertain if you will get there or not. You will have to face challenges, obstacles, criticism, setbacks, and uncertainty. These are attack vectors against making progress in the journey towards your vision. But these difficulties are often actually indicators that you are on a meaningful path. The higher the vision, the more arduous the path to get you there.
Find ways to sacrifice your comfort, safety, and certainty to benefit others and increase their comfort and security. Sacrifice doesn't necessarily mean throwing away value but trading to create value. Here are a few high-level examples to think through.
1. Trade your time to bless others with your intentional presence. Since time is one of your most valuable assets, intentional time with someone speaks volumes about how you value them.
2. Trade your wealth to empower others to do what you could never do on your own.
3. Trade your power to help others have more influence. Your legacy will be based on what you give and how you empower, not on what you get.
4. Trade your comfort for learning and be exposed to ideas, experiences, and novel people and challenge your current worldview and skillset.
The sermon 'A Life Well Spent' by pastor Rustin Rossello is the best I've ever heard about Jesus' teaching, commonly known as the parable of the talents. He insightfully shares an inspiring call to steward what has been entrusted to you and why it is so desperately important. It's a great way to dig deeper into accepting a high vision and deep meaning for your life. Watch or listen to it here.
Strong and Weak by Andy Crouch is a book worth reading, and its subtitle summarizes it well: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk, and True Flourishing. It will give you a paradigm, or mental model, for how to engage in the world and use your power in a vulnerable way so that you can empower others.
Below is the paradigm Andy gives us, but read the book to better understand what flourishing is and how to get there.
In this paradigm, you will see the pitfalls of optimizing your life towards avoiding risk and the dangers of abusing power. Andy thoughtfully explores what real vulnerability looks like and goes far beyond only emotional vulnerability. This is a beautiful book for improving your vision for interacting with others (from parenting to work, to leadership challenges, to politics) and how to live out your faith in line with the highest values.
"Only those who have opened themselves to meaningful risk are likely to be entrusted with the authority that we all were made for and seek."
Andy Crouch, Strong and Weak
"If you are standing on a mountain of blessing, you will have a mountain of accountability."
What is my vision of flourishing in this situation or season?
What risk can I take to relieve someone's suffering?
What can I trade?