Understanding and appreciating tension in your life – and how to respond to it – can be the difference between a life of great satisfaction and fulfillment, or a life of misery.  

The first step toward gaining this appreciation is to start with a vision, or a goal, for your life. 

So, what exactly is “vision?” Simply stated, “vision” is what you really want, what really matters to you, and inspires you, and gives you direction each day. The gap between realizing your vision and your current reality will often produce “tension.” Peter Senge, in his book, The 5th Discipline, talks about two types of tension:

  1. Creative Tension: exists when there is a gap between what we truly want to create our vision and what exists today. Creative tension doesn’t feel, rather, it simply is.
  2. Emotional Tension:  is based on feelings of stress, anxiety, and emotional worry.

It is important to recognize how we interpret tension in our lives, and whether we tend to make decisions based on our feelings. Mediocrity and lowering our vision to meet the current reality is a sure sign we are responding, or making decisions, to relieve emotional tension.  This is the space where most people live. The lesson is that our emotions are often a poor standard of reference for making decisions.

Pursuing a vision is not easy, comfortable, or stress-free.  Living with the intention to fulfill your vision can be very painful. Then why do we do it? We do it because we care.

Consider these examples of vision:

  • I want to have great a great family and children (parent)
  • I want to help others find their purpose in life (leader)
  • I want to serve and share with others the love of Christ (Christian)

Allow your emotions to be, and recognize them for what they are: another facet of the current reality. In that way, you can allow your emotions to become subservient to your vision.  Stay committed to truth and the principal of your vision.

What tensions do you experience as you strive for your vision?  

Do you respond from a perspective of creative or emotional tension?


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