Updated: Apr 27, 2021
Visions can be long or short term. You can have a vision for your life - or for today. And they can be simple or complex.
If we use the definition of a visionary as: An individual who holds a higher vision for a more united, improved, or thriving earth and offers a pathway or solution to get there, most of us would consider Ben Franklin to be a visionary. And - we can name many of the inventions that he is responsible for - including the lightning rod, bifocals, swim fins, and the Franklin Stove.
But I will argue that the biggest impact he had on the world came from two simple questions he asked himself each day.
To begin his day on the right foot, he would ask himself "the Morning Question": What good shall I do this day?
Reflecting on this question allowed him to think about what opportunities for serving his fellow man might arise during the day and to create a vision for that day.
In the evening, he would return to the question by asking himself "the Evening Question": What good have I done today?
This allowed him to examine how he had spent his hours and consider whether he had done the good deeds he had planned on doing (changing the world), as well as taken action when unforeseen opportunities to serve had arisen.
In his virtue notebook, Franklin had a prayer that helped him remember the purpose of this exercise:
“O powerful Goodness! Bountiful Father! Merciful Guide! Increase in me that wisdom which discovers my truest interest. Strengthen my resolutions to perform what that wisdom dictates. Accept my kind offices to thy other children as the only return in my power for thy continual favors to me.”