Guard against Vision Killers .

By Ozias Mucheriwa

When you dream, when you conceive and idea, many times you wish others would understand you and how you intend to fulfill your dream but more often than not it is not so. You even try to appeal to their nobler motives but they still do not get you. How can they understand your vision when they did not participate in its conception? There are three challenges to ideas that anyone who will dare to dream is sure to encounter: 1. You can talk yourself out of your idea. Sometimes when destiny calls, you can be too scared to heed the call and try to talk and convince yourself out of it. This can partly be ascribed to the fear of success. You cannot imagine yourself in an extremely successful position such that you just feel good talking yourself out of it. This lesson can be drawn from Margaret Thatcher. On 26 October 1969 she asserted that no woman would be Prime Minister in her lifetime. In fact let me quote her exact words, “It will be years – not in my time – before a woman will become Prime Minister.” I need not mention that she became one in 1979 and served three terms. One thing you have to realize is that when you talk yourself out, you inadvertently talk others out as well who look up to you for inspiration. I am sure when Margaret Thatcher issued her statement many ladies aspiring for the same political office had their hopes shuttered because of who had confessed the impossibility. 2. Great achievers can talk you out of your idea We are usually made to think that critics are mainly non-achievers. Far from it. It is not only under performers that criticize other people’s ideas and shoot them down. In fact the criticism of under achievers is not as treacherous as that of great people. You can easily dismiss them by critically looking at what they themselves have achieved and if there is nothing noteworthy, their criticism can be easy to disregard like a discarded orange peel. It is when the criticism comes from those who are considered to be thinkers and achievers that real discouragement and vision killing can take effect. Thomas Edison, one of the most prolific inventors said about an airplane, “It is apparent to me that the possibilities of the aeroplane, which two or three years ago were thought to hold the solution to the problem, have been exhausted, and that we must turn elsewhere.” That was in 1895. In 1903 the first airplane took off the ground. On the other hand, he was also nearly talked off his idea of the light bulb by the president of The Stevens Institute of Technology, Henry Morton who confidently asserted, “Everyone acquainted with the subject will recognize it as a conspicuous failure.” This was the president of the institute of technology, more learned than Edison but his assertion proved it to be false when the light bulb, contrary to his belief, became an extraordinary success. 3. Competitors can talk you out of your idea. Your competitors can quickly write you off when they perceive a threat. Sometimes they may underestimate your capabilities and not consider you a threat or a business worth mentioning-writing you off in the process. When the Japanese motor industry started penetrating the North American industry in the early 1960s the industry giants did not consider them a threat at all. In 1962 the Japanese market share was less than four percent. In 1967 it was below ten percent. By 1974 it was just under fifteen percent and the industry began to perceive a threat. As we approached the 1980s the Japanese share of the market had risen to twenty one percent. By 1990 it was approaching twenty five percent and by 2005 it was sitting close to forty percent. Now, contrast this achievement with the prediction of the Business Week in the 1960s, “With over fifteen types of foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn’t likely to carve out a big share of the market for itself.” Of course not all critics are obnoxious to your vision. It is when they push you towards abandoning your vision do they become dangerous. The three examples cited above, were not after perfecting the ideas but were bent on completely muzzling the pursuit of visions. That becomes retrogressive. You need to be extremely balanced. How do you manage to do that? Anticipate and prepare for change We are now living in a world where change is the order of the day. If you want to transmute your idea into reality, make it a point to revisit your strategy more frequently. Depending on the type of project you want to implement, at least once every month take time to sit down and reevaluate your strategy in line with the changing landscape. Sticking old strategies can be a prescription for disaster and your competitors can eat you up for breakfast. This happens many a time. While you are still thinking that your strategy is the best, new and better methods are coming in and before you realize it you are trailing behind the pack. Remember, the best skill to learn is the skill of learning new skills. In 2004 the Nigerian government banned the importation of furniture, giving practically no notice. Nigerian custom furniture mogul Ibukun Awosika feared the ban would destroy her business, which at the time depended on overseas manufacturers. Her company approached a key supplier, office furniture maker SOKOA S.A. of France, with the idea of a joint venture to produce chairs in Nigeria. With an investment of nearly $200 million, the gamble paid off in about a year. Do your homework. I usually say that proper prior preparation precedes peak performance. Prepare all the groundwork necessary to see your dream fulfilled. Do not underestimate challenges. Do not overrate difficulties. Be as realistic as possible. We call it being realistically optimistic. When Toyota wanted to venture into manufacturing of luxury vehicles for the US market, its research team was sent to live luxuriously and learn the tastes and preferences of their prospective customers. They lived in Laguna Beach, California for several months just to get an appreciation of what their customers wanted. US$1billion was invested in the project and out of this the powerful Lexus LS400 was born. Needless to say, the venture was a considerable success. If you develop the habit of preparing for any task at hand you are guaranteed to swim upstream all your life. Align yourself with people whose thinking is compatible with yours. Bob Proctor recommends becoming part of a Master Mind grouping. You may not be in the same field of endeavor but if your thinking is compatible you sharpen and encourage each other. Whenever you encounter criticism insist on a close scrutiny to see if there is no merit in that criticism. If there is, take steps to amend but if the intention is for you to abandon your vision remind yourself that they did not contribute to the conception of the idea hence should not talk you out of your destiny. Go ahead and implement leaving them for their three-course meal; humble pie their own words, and crow. To Your Zenith Ozias Mucheriwa Chairman-Motivcenter