The Power of Vision

Vision is power; the power to bring something that does not now exist into reality. It is the means by which anything meaningful is created, accomplished, or attained.

In this article, as well as the next few, I’m going to write about the incredible importance and power of vision and also give you some exercises to create a compelling personal vision, a vision that you can leverage to change and bring meaning to your life.

Let me begin with an amazing example. During the Korean War, American pilots who were shot down and captured were interrogated by the Chinese and North Koreans. Based on their responses, they were placed in minimum or maximum security prison camps. The minimum security camps were characterized by dormitories, cafeterias, recreation halls, and even libraries. These camps resembled, to some extent, life on a college campus, back in the States. The maximum security camps, in stark contrast, consisted of simple barracks, barbed wire, guards and dogs, poor nutrition, no organized recreation, etc.

The way it was determined whether a prisoner would be placed in minimum or maximum security prison was by asking him some simple and direct questions: What kind of girl do you want to marry? What do you want to be doing in your life five years from now? Those who were clear and direct in their answers were placed in maximum security. Those who waffled were placed in minimum security.

Why? Those pilots who were clear were judged to be dangerous. They were more likely to cause problems and try to escape. Those who were unclear were not dangerous. These were people more likely to conform, to follow the crowd, and do what they were told.

Here is the incredible fact–the disease and death rate was four times higher in the minimum security compared with the maximum security camps. This in spite of the utter advantages of the living conditions of the minimum security camps.

The story speaks to the power of vision. People who have a clear vision are the movers and shakers of the world. There are three kind of people. Those who make things happen. Those who watch what happens. And those who ask, “What happened!” People of vision are those who make things happen. They aren’t brighter, more beautiful, or talented than most. However, they are clear about what they want and determined to rise above the mundane, or challenges and difficulties to make it happen.

Unfortunately, most people don’t live from vision. They are like a farmer sitting on a three-legged stool in the middle of a pasture with a bucket between his knees, hoping the cow will back up. They meander through life allowing circumstances, events and other people to determine what happens to them. They opt for getting by, living life to avoid losing rather than winning.

So let me suggest that all success begins with a clear vision. You have to know where your headed. Vision is a powerful, positive motivator of action. You won’t change so much by overcoming what you don’t want but rather by clarifying and deepening the importance of what you do want. It is when your vision burns within you that it will become a reality. And the more time you spend thinking about it and what your life will be like once you’ve realized it, the more you draw it to you. A clear vision, along with the courage to carry it out, significantly increases your chances of success. That’s the Power of Vision.

More on this topic in the next few weeks to come. In the meantime, give yourself permission to dream and think deeply. What is your vision? What do you really, really want in your life?

Would you like to read more? Have a look at our blog post How to write a Personal Vision.



  1. Rachelle

    Thank you for sharing this story and example about the power of vision! It’s such a remarkable story, I’d like to learn more about it. Are there any books/references you’d suggest? Thank you.

    • Roger Allen

      Thanks for your comment. It prompted me to do more research into this question. Most prisoners were treated poorly but some were treated well, as the quotes below show. Here is an article. I also want to continue looking into this. I, frankly, don’t recall my original source or where I first heard this story.

      “The so-called ‘lenient policy’ treated POWs as victims of the ruling classes, students who were to be given food and medical treatment. They were to be neither robbed nor abused. Instead they were to be led towards an understanding of the true nature of the war and of their own societies. After such re-education, prisoners could either be released at the front to rejoin and demoralize their old units, or held for longer-term indoctrination.”8

      Recalling life in a POW camp, Adams says: “There wasn’t too much friction between prisoners and captors who were the Chinese. We understand the American life, what we wanted. I said, well look, I volunteered, I asked for recreation equipment, I asked if we could set up a recreation hall, I asked if some of the guys are religious, if we could let our cooks cook the way we like, so they agreed with everything we said and in about two and a half to three months, they brought in baseballs, we exercised every day and we began to get strong… I remained in camp until the end of war and the Chinese sent me away to study. Then they sent me back to camp to give lectures and I gave lectures on capitalism, imperialism, history of social development. I learned the difference between all of those, right there in a prisoner of war camp, and I told it to the other prisoners.”

  2. Mat

    Thank you so much this article really motivated me to be men to create roadmaps of my life

  3. Roger Allen

    You are welcome, Mat. I’m glad to hear it.



  1. How to Write a Vision - [...] November 28th blog was about the power of vision. It seems like a good time of year to continue…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Write Your Story

    Once you submit your story, I'll review it and get back to you. This may take a few days. I'll let you know when it will be published and invite you to then share your post with your friends and family.