Millions each year join the daily throngs of people who willingly unload their wallets so they and their children can enjoy a brief encounter with Mickey Mouse and the gang in the land of enchantment. Visiting Disneyland or Disney World for the average American family has almost become a pilgrimage that must be completed at least once in a life-time. Amazingly, the allure that pulls people into these gates like a mosquito to a bug light can all be traced back to the VISION of one man—Mr. Walt Disney himself.
Sure there were many collaborators who made the project possible, but without the dreamer—the “Visioneer” if you will, a collection of talent and resources never comes together to create the physical reality. In Walt’s case, his vision for a Disneyland on the East Coast was all he provided because he passed away before the project was completed. Mike Vance, the man in charge of the Development of Disney World, while giving a tour of the recently completed park overheard someone say, “Isn’t it too bad Walt Disney didn’t live to see this?” To which Vance quickly replied: “He did see it—that’s why it’s here!” (Bringing Out The Best, p 166). Without belief, or put another way a mental creation, the physical creation isn’t possible. To lead or succeed then, one must create a vision that is so vivid, so real that when he or she opens their mouth that vision spills out in such a fashion that it compels others to not only see it but feel it.
Benjamin Franklin was one such visionary who developed the art of persuasion through vision casting. His belief or vision capacity coupled with leveraging the power of daily habits made him one of the most influential American Founders. For example, many don’t know that nearly 30 years before the Revolutionary War, Franklin helped organize a local militia group in Pennsylvania. In 1747 Spain and France were hostile to England and sent privateer ships over to America where they sailed up the Delaware River near Philadelphia, Franklin’s home town. The privateers successfully plundered two farms and made off with an American ship.
Franklin, while acting as clerk of the House of Representatives for the province of Pennsylvania, had witnessed many failed attempts by the Governor of this province to obtain legislation to provide for a colonial militia and thus the colony remained defenseless. Franklin, however, was determined to see to it that his community was protected. With the Quakers in the area preaching that war was unlawful and the legislator not willing to act, Franklin took matters into his own hands. Everyone could see the need for protection, but Franklin could see a successful outcome in his mind. Where others excused themselves with words like, “if the Governor can’t do it how can I,” Franklin saw possibilities and his compelling vision drove him to take meaningful action and rally his community to do the same. Using his skill of communication, he wrote a powerful pamphlet wherein he expressed his vision and promised action. Soon he was casting his vision to a small group, then larger groups and his proposal was ultimately signed by thousands. Eventually, his firm belief rallied some ten thousand men to volunteer. They brought their own arms, formed into companies and regiments, chose their own officers and began meeting weekly to learn the art of military discipline and procedure.
Most would have called this a success, but Franklin had seen more in his vision and so he organized a fundraising initiative for the construction of a fort and the acquisition of cannon to be ordered from England. With construction underway and funds procured Franklin still did not rest until he had traveled to NY to request that their governor loan Pennsylvania a number of cannons until their shipment arrived. At first, the governor flatly refused, but after a persuasive conversation over a meal and plenty of Madeira wine, Franklin records that the governor agreed to loan 6 and then 10 and by the end of the evening Franklin had procured 18 cannons to fortify his fort. (Real BF pgs 71-73)
Whether it’s Franklin’s vision that organized a community into a volunteer militia or Walt Disney’s vision that assembled his team of “Imagineers” to create an unparalleled family vacation destination, they both supplied a clear and compelling vision and continued to believe and inspire belief no matter the obstacles that loomed before them. The fact that it hadn’t been done before was irrelevant because they could see it almost as if it already existed and their enthusiasm and conviction helped others buy-in as well. In the end, they moved people and people moved the vision into reality.
Free people see freedom clearly and project that vision around them just like Franklin did. Unfortunately, too many today are fixated on all the problems that surround us. From the government, the economy to their personal problems they are continually casting a dark cloud of fear, failure, hopelessness, and subservience. Before you spout the woes of your current frustrations, ask yourself if Franklin’s vision built a fort what does a negative vision build? Too many today are overly focused on a loss of freedom or their financial frustrations, their struggling business or job and thus their freedoms decline. So if you would truly live free ask yourself what are you continually visualizing or dreaming about? Is it compelling you and others to positive action or fearful destruction? Free people remain free and flourish because of belief in a bright new future. What are you selling yourself and others?