You know, sometimes, when you look up and ask, ‘Is anyone cooking jollof rice around here?’ But no one is. But you can smell it. So, you keep asking and searching for the source of the smell. Till you give up, go out and buy the ingredients, come home and cook it. This is how a Vision is.

You see? A vision is not simply a desire. It is not simply to say, ‘I want suya’. A vision is when you are in the office working and then the computer in front of you suddenly disappears and you see yourself sitting outside Yahuza, dipping your fingers into a steaming package. You know? You feel the spice on your fingers, and its fragrance travels up to your nose, and now you are swallowing because you are salivating already. This is how a Vision is.

You see? A vision is not simply a desire. It is a special type of desire. It is a desire that kicks your imagination into gear. But let us not use vague terms. Tell me, what is imagination? Imagination is what happens when your brain responds to something you are thinking about as if that thing was actually happening. So, when you think of jollof rice and you can smell it. Or you think of suya and you can taste it. Or you think of owning a Ford Explorer and you can feel the cool blast of its a/c on your face. Then, you have a Vision. Anything less than this and what you have is a Goal or an Objective or a Mission or some other intellectual statement of intention.

They are not in the same league. You see? With a Goal you are trying to go somewhere you have never been before. But with a Vision it always feels as if you are only trying to return home. You see? As if, Yesterday, the Future visited you and when it was going left behind a smell, or taste, or a feeling, or an image that belongs to it. And now you are obliged to find this Future again and return to it what it left behind. Do you know this feeling?

It is the most powerful tool a leader can have. Because when you talk about your Vision, you do not describe it in intellectual terms. No. You have felt the sun on your face in this place you are talking about. You have trailed your fingers across its hedges and dipped your feet into its waters. So, you talk about it in evocative terms. Because you have seen it. And deep calls to deep, yes, your motivation to speak, not necessarily what you are saying, is what transfers to your listeners. Did you know this? So, when someone who truly has a Vision speaks about it, it activates the imagination of those who are hearing. Very different from when someone who only has a goal, but not a vision, speaks about the exact same thing.

This is the importance of Vision, Imagination and being able to see with your eyes closed. It is a powerful source of self-motivation, but also being able to motivate others. Because the barriers can be formidable between Now and Tomorrow. And every night you will ask yourself why you have to wake up the next morning, get out of your trench and haul yourself, once more, against the firing line of the enemy. And as the casualties mount, talks of ‘it is your duty’, ‘it is the right thing to do’, ‘it is what is expected of you’ will make less and less sense. But not for those who truly have a Vision. No. For them, when they sleep, in their dreams, their spirits will walk across the battle field, past the deeply dug in trenches of the enemy, and into the open fields after the War. And there they will smell the grass, and taste the wind, and feel the rising sun creep across their faces. And in the morning, when they wake up, these ones will be ready, again, for Battle.

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