Do You Have Dreams, Or Do You Have Vision?

A photo of a child laying on the operating table.

I have a hard time accepting things as they are. I’m more of a “how they should be” kind of guy.

I’d rather vacation in Iraq, Yemen or Libya than Paris, London or Tokyo. I see discrepancies and obsess over them. My team says I’m “persnickety”—I prefer to think of myself as “particular” or “exacting.” To-may-to, to-mah-to.

In any case, I operate daily according to a vision of the future that is not yet reality.

I prefer the word “vision” to the word “dream” because dreams are so often associated with “dreaming”, “dreamy” and “dreamers.” “Dream” has connotations of other-worldliness. Apart from Martin Luther King’s wonderful speech, most “I have a dream” talk that I’ve encountered reeks of non-action, an assumption that dreaming alone is enough to spark the desired change. Think of the spate of status updates and tweets on New Year’s Eve in which people dreamed (and invoked Dreaming’s close cousins, “Hope” and “Wish”) for world peace, an eradication of poverty, and global sing-alongs.

plc gift card

At the risk of sounding cynical, much of our dreaming is just socially conscious enough to sound engaged and just vague enough to require zero effort of our own. 

Therefore, I prefer to have vision over dreams. In the way I use the word, vision requires much of me. I work on vision. I plan for vision. I submit my vision to the critique of others so that it will be refined and strengthened. I seek partnerships to bring the vision into reality. And I pray while waiting for the correct timing to pursue vision. This post marks the launch of a series on vision – how to define it, nurture it, pursue it and succeed in it. 

Ultimately I want to encourage others out there who have a hard time accepting things as they are. I want to ignite more passion in the hearts of those of you who insist on returning things to how they should be. In the process, you will get a clearer picture of what it has required for us to get to this point as an organization. I will be honest about our failures and I will paint a picture of a future Iraq—and a future world—that I hope you will find compelling and inspiring. 

We are not just out here in Iraq cranking out heart surgeries. There is a much more sweeping vision, and I feel I’ve failed to bring that to the fore regularly enough. As you read, if there is anything you feel you’d like to ask or any way in which I might spur you on in your vision, don’t hesitate to send me an email by clicking this link.

A mother holds her son before his surgery.