Who is a visionary and what defines one? Is that a person with a vision that goes way beyond the average man’s level of awareness in that time? Is it a drive to improve the world, make it a better place coupled with an acute gift of intelligence, intuition and a willpower to push through the obstacles?
Often visionaries are defined as people who are dreamers and not grounded in reality and yet some of them happen to achieve the highest attainable goals. Steve Jobs, the legendary co-founder of Apple Inc. was acclaimed a visionary, a charismatic leader and a pioneer of personal computer revolution. Maya Angelou, another visionary, a poet, a filmmaker, a writer and women’s right activist had a vision and she influenced millions. Leonardo daVinci was certainly a man with a great vision and his contemporaries often weren’t quite able to embrace his genius. He was perhaps the most perfect example of Renaissance Man with millions of revolutionary ideas and yet often misunderstood.
My question, then, is whether a visionary is a person merely with a vision, an idealist and a dreamer or is there something more to it?
So many artists are visionaries, it almost seems it is easier for people with artistic abilities to get in touch with the divine and draw their inspiration from it. Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keefe, Vincent vanGogh (although he is known for being rather out of touch with reality due to his mental illness), Mozart, Picasso and so many more are just examples of people who propelled the humankind in a completely new direction.
They held a vision and had enough trust, willpower and confidence in what they were doing to push against the mainstream culture. Often they had to defy the rules and lived solitary lives because what they stood for wasn’t popular in their time. Not only they were crushing the societal norms through their extravagant pose, art, behavior, they had to pay the consequences for being pioneers of new ideas and trends. Vincent van Gogh has never sold a single painting of his own, a steep price for an artist who revolutionized the art. Michelangelo was leading a lonely life as his passion for sculpture has left him no time or desire to have a family. In fact, his zeal to create perfect art drove him isolated from interactions with other people. Nicola Tesla, another visionary not appreciated during his time, had had no family either and due to his lack of financial prudence hasn’t been able to impact the world the way he could have.
In my opinion, a visionary is a person who is strongly connected to the divine, an intuitive with a powerful drive to make a breakthrough. A person whose idea is to make the world a better place for others, no matter his or her personal circumstances. A visionary is a trailblazer like Amelia Earhart. She certainly paved a path for many women to be courageous and authentic and reach for the stars. Elizabeth the I and Catherine the Great both had a strong vision how to make their countries powerful and were able to execute their plan perfectly.
From my point of view visionaries are connected to the divine and live from their heart. They are intuitive and sensitive individuals who listen to their inner voice and honor it. It can only come from one’s HEART, that knowing that what you are doing is RIGHT.
I wonder if they live their lives knowing they are different? Do they ever doubt themselves? How do they find strength to go on when nobody believes in them? Do they get overwhelmed, depressed? Apparently, often they do. There are numerous accounts of famous people who had their breakdowns before they achieved their goal and yet they persevered.
“I am not concerned that you have fallen — I am concerned that you arise.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
To sum it up, they often are people who held on to their inner calling no matter what. Vincent vanGogh was told he had no artistic talent at all, Martin Luther King upheld his vision against a wall of racial prejudice. They are the people who not only tried but also kept going on and on.