What Otis Redding Taught Me About Vision

What do you know about Otis Redding?  Otis Redding (Wiki link) was one of the most influential soul singers of the 1960’s, a black artist emerging in a very challenging time in our country’s history.  He tragically died in a plane crash at 26 years old, just as his star was beginning to shine.  Only a six months earlier, he had closed the Monterey Pop Festival, sharing the stage with acts such as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and The Who.  Interestingly enough, Redding’s most famous song and a personal favorite of mine, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” was recorded just days before his death.  Most people don’t know this, but released posthumously, it was the 1st song to reach #1 on the charts after the artist’s death.  Otis Redding never saw his greatest accomplishment.

Otis at Monterey Pop Festival - June 1967 - image courtesy of www.krismbeal.com

Otis at Monterey Pop Festival – June 1967 – image courtesy of www.krismbeal.com

Your Greatest Accomplishment

To Pop Culture, Otis Redding is a tragedy; someone taken before his time.  I would agree that his death was a tragic thing, but I also believe that it was a beautiful thing.  I hear you saying, “How is never getting to experience your vision realized, your greatness accomplished, a beautiful thing?   You say, why in the world would I work so hard at something to never see the fruits of my labor?  Ok, Let’s turn the table.  I ask you, what is your greatest accomplishment?  Have you achieved the peak in your life or are their greater things ahead?  These are major questions as we go on this journey and major questions I urge you to ask of yourself.  If you hold to the line of thinking that your greatest times have passed, I think that is far worse than dying.  You are dead already.

True Vision

A few true/false statements about vision:

Vision is Necessary to Fully Live(TRUE)  Being lost is part of living, but living lost is not living at all.  You come to roadblocks and challenges in your life where you may question yourself or your vision.  These points kill so many dreams.  So many visions die right here.  You must create a vision for your life in order to fully live.  If you want to achieve greatness, you have to know what it looks like for YOU.  Until you have that in your heart, you will wonder.

Creating a Vision Comes Naturally – (FALSE)  Ideas come and go.  Ideas are like intentions.  They are a ball of energy, a great source of power.  However, they aren’t ignited and their power cannot be realized until action takes place.  Most people have ideas.  Very few people carry ideas and intentions to their fully extent of crafting a vision.

My Vision is Limited to What I Can Think and See – (FALSE)  If we limit our vision only to what we see, then we are missing the point.  True greatness goes so far beyond the scope of our senses.  When we think inside of ourselves, we can never grow beyond ourselves.  In crafting our vision, we start with our senses, but once we start, we see the vision grow FAR beyond that which we are currently capable of realizing.

My Death is the End of my Vision – (FALSE)  This is the line of thinking we tend to hold on to, but this line of thinking is very limiting.  It is constrictive and goes against the concept of having a vision in the first place!  Think of the true ‘Greats’ in our past.  Hasn’t their ‘greatness’ grown over time?  Think of those that were not great.  Hasn’t the opposite held true?  Greatness simply expands as time goes on.

We Can Never Fully Understand the Impact of our Vision – (TRUE)  I believe this is true because we can never fully understand the impact of our actions.  Our legacy is being created daily as we live and influence those around us.  Just because we don’t see the impact, doesn’t limit its power.  The challenge is to continue to pursue your vision, when you aren’t able to fully grasp its influence.  And this is where faith comes in!

Your Vision Leaves A Legacy

I was reading about King David and King Solomon this morning and it hit me.  Their actions were not fully realized until future generations.  Their greatness and their faults rippled through to their ancestors.  The same is true of us.  Our great legacy will affect generations ahead!  But watch out, an average legacy can be an anchor tied to the soul.  Your vision and the legacy you are leaving is rippling through your life today and future generations.  That is why you must make them great!

How can you start crafting your vision?  How have you been limiting your vision?


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