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The Anatomy of Definition
"Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare." - Japanese Proverb
The root word for "definition" is "define," which comes from the Latin word "definire," meaning "to limit, determine, or explain."
The goal of this post is to help someone overcome their doubt.
Your ideas are like a camera needing to be focused. Just as a camera lens can be adjusted to bring a blurry image into sharp focus, we must also adapt our lives to get our goals and priorities into clear focus. Without a clear focus, life/ideas can feel unfocused and aimless, but by focusing on what's truly important, we can capture the beauty and clarity of life.
In my early 20s, while visiting a friend’s home, the most beautiful aroma came from the kitchen, so I followed my nose to find their Mom making strawberry jam. I’ve never seen or smelled anything like this. Interestingly, I learned the family grew strawberries, harvested and cooked them into little pots of joy for their families’ enjoyment during the off-season.
While visiting the next day, Irene gave me a jar of what she had prepared with love the day before. I found it fascinating that she grew the berries, bottled them, and even gave one to me. That jar of joy was an extraordinary gift.
It became my dream and desire, but I still had to deal with the doubt from my lack of confidence, friends and family poopooing the idea.
It took another four years before I had enough desire to pursue it no matter what.
But back to the definition.
To keep the dream alive, I kept talking about it, going to the grocery stores and watching people buy jam brands. And having no shyness, only a desire to know, I approached people to ask why they purchased the brand they did. I learned a lot from doing that, and one thing, the price, was not the factor. Instead, it was the story behind the brand.
In one case, a woman shared with me that when she was growing up, her family was dirt poor, and whenever the jar was empty, her Dad would take it, fill it with milk, and shake it real hard. The empty jar was a strawberry milkshake made with love, and he gave a little to each of his children.
After discussions with people about their likes and dislikes of “jam,” the flame of desire became much greater than the doubt, and I knew that I wanted to do this, but I needed to learn how.
The more focused the idea became more apparent, the quieter I got about it, and I started internalizing the energy instead and keeping my thoughts to myself.
"Vision is the Art of seeing Things invisible." ~ Jonathan Swift
So what to do?
Defining a concept involves clearly and concisely explaining what it represents, how it works, and its significance. Here are some steps to help you put intentions around an idea:
Thinking on paper is a great habit to get into. So write it out, put it away, and review it often.
Start with a clear understanding of the idea: Before you can start distilling your idea, you need to have a solid understanding of what the idea is and represents. This involves breaking down the idea into its fundamental components and identifying its key features and benefits.
Visualize. Visualization exercises can be done in a quiet, comfortable place and typically involve closing your eyes and focusing on the mental image you are creating. It's essential to use all your senses in your visualization to feel like you are experiencing the situation in real life.
Research the concept: Research the idea better to understand its history, context, and significance. This may involve reading articles, books, or other sources of information, such as speaking with others who do what you are looking to do.
Identify the critical components needed: Break down the concept into its essential parts and identify how they relate. This will help you create a more detailed and nuanced definition of the concept.
Provide examples: Use examples to illustrate how the concept works in practice. This can help make the idea more concrete.
Refine and test: Refine your definition over time and test it with others to ensure it is clear, concise, and accurate. Solicit feedback from your audience to help you identify areas for improvement.
By following these steps, you can put a definition around a concept and create a clear and concise explanation of what it represents. This can be particularly useful when communicating complex or abstract ideas to others, increasing your desire and decreasing doubt!
Know everything you can about your definition; if someone woke you in the middle of the night and asked you for your clear vision, you must have the answer.