The Difference Between Idea vs. Vision

If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.

— Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Having an idea and a clear vision for what you want to achieve is the first step on your journey to success.

So what’s the difference between the two?

The idea is essentially the things you are going to do, they tend to be short term biased, and are objective based.

People can generally understand ideas easily, there are also a lot of them around so it’s hard to build a business just on an idea as your differentiator (approx 30% of the world now count themselves in the idea driven creative class). Ideas are often about thinking outside the box.

Vision on the other hand is more about destroying the old box and completely inventing a new one. It’s generally a more long term thing, more about the journey than the exact destination.

Ideas can be used by anyone, visions are more pointed and strongly reflect the culture of the visionary, they are less inclusive but hit on a much deeper emotional level.

Probably the most famous recent examples of visionaries would be Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. They have an ability to deeply understand things and create whole new industries and concepts that speak powerfully to people and make them take action. Interestingly both of these people have a pretty bad rep for working people to the bone, however few people would turn down working at SpaceX, Tesla or Apple.

Tesla doesn’t sell you the idea of an electric car, it sells you the vision of an exciting future.

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