A vision board is a creative visualization of your goals and aspirations. But if you are an Adventurous Thinker like me, you are probably equally curious and skeptical about the vision boards ability to manifest your dreams.
According to countless vision board authorities, the contents of a vision board ideally show that you have:
- Reflected upon your goals and determined what they are
- Considered what makes life worth living for you, and listed what those things are
- Chosen a theme to encompass those goals
But this can be challenging. Life is messy. Can anyone really sum up the intricacies of their being with a single theme? This is my issue with the carefully curated vision board.
Summarizing goals and then picking through magazines for visuals that “fit” those goals only creates tunnel-vision of the things you already know. I am a believer in business disrupter Joel Barker’s observation that:“Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with vision is making a positive difference.”
Adventurous Thinking is all about taking action. That’s why the Parkour vision board, as opposed to a classic vision board, is a more successful approach to proactively reveal new truths about yourself.
Adventurous Thinking uses ‘Five Lenses’ to provoke your brain to think outside its expertise, and the most extreme lens is the disruptive lens of Parkour. Parkour takes every established norm and completely inverts it to reveal new systems and ways of doing. Here are two ways you can disrupt vision boarding using the Parkour lens of Adventurous Thinking:
The Tasseomancy Vision Board
Tasseomancy is the ancient reading of tea leaves (or coffee grindings) derived from the French word tasse (cup), and the Greek suffix -mancy (divination). The Tasseomancy vision board inverts the actions of classic vision boarding into three pillars:
- Do not reflect upon your goals. Act instinctively and choose what you like.
- Do not consider what makes life living, rather, choose what moves you.
- The only theme is you.
Allocate an hour to search Pinterest, Instagram and Google to find images you’re drawn to. Find a stack of magazines and flip through them, taking any words, phrases or images that attract you. If you hear any lyrics you really like, write them down on slips of paper. Pile up all the results on a flat surface and pick the top 30 that stand out from the crowd. Now, take a look at what you have.
What are the commonalities? Do any of these choices surprise you? Is there an overlap that you didn’t expect? Colors, image similarities, word choices?
Examining this board will help you clarify what motivates you, and perhaps even help you understand what it is you seek. It is a snapshot of what you love at this moment. Take a photo or glue these pieces down. Repeat the exercise every few months or years. Take note of changes that arise. Consider how your board compares with your partner, best friend or teenager’s board.
A different take on the Tasseomancy Vision is to seek out words and images that you intensely dislike. In my architectural practice, I always ask new clients to make a Pinterest board of interiors and details they hate. This is extremely instructive for me as a designer because it enables me to avoid spending energy on design solutions that will not appeal to my client. Hate is a strong emotion and one that most people do not talk about or express publically, but it is useful to know what triggers this strong emotion and it can be perversely enjoyable to assemble a collection of images you can’t stand. The result is a deeper understanding of ourselves.
The Dorie Clark inspired Brand Board
In 2013, I hosted Dorie Clark on CreativeLive and her personal branding expertise fundamentally changed the way I approached my work. She is an expert in self-reinvention, and her Personal Branding course is brilliant. Dorie ran a personal branding exercise that I use with my students now, and which I have translated into a different kind of vision board.
Unlike most of my Adventurous Thinking activities, this one requires a week of planning. To begin, reach out to six or more friends, family and work colleagues and ask them to email or give you 5 images or words/quotations that they think best encapsulates you: your energy, your aura, your style, etc.
Assemble all the images and words – you should have at least 30. Are there any overlaps or similarities? Is this what you expected? Often, others see us differently than the way we see ourselves. This ‘Brand Board’ could be the most revealing thing you do in terms of understanding the public perception of “you.”
These Parkour interpretations of vision boarding have one thing in common: action. They work actively to help you understand more about yourself. Like Leonardo da Vinci said: “I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”