Step to Working Smarter (Japanese Style)
by: Dr. Robert Eubanks
Remember that Coke contest from the 80s? If
you collected bottle tops that had the letters
T-H-E R-E-A-L T-H-I-N-G, then you’d win
a zillion dollars.
I’m not sure where the drink industry
turned the corner but contests and advertisements
are no longer all you will find on the underneath
side of bottle caps.
The latest beverage I popped open was some high
brow herbal elixir that promised energy, health
and a stress free life. Interesting claims for
a container of strained leaves.
To further my surprise, what I found under the
cap was the following Japanese proverb:
Vision without action is daydreaming; action
without vision is a nightmare.
Needless to say, this quote made my beveraging
experience much more philosophical than I bargained
After the laughter from finding a Japanese proverb
under by bottle cap subsided, I actually pondered
the phrase deeply. It glued itself to my brain
for the rest of the day.
So what is it about Vision and Action working
together that gives us the changes we so desire?
Or, better yet, what is it about Vision without
Action and Action without Vision that keeps
us from attaining what we want in our lives
1. Vision without Action
We’ve all have the best of intentions
when it comes to those To Do lists both at work
and at home. How about that project, idea, or
those personal goals that you’ve been
storing in the Some-Day-Soon vault in the back
of your mind?
These are the visions that we have for our lives
that are becoming nothing more than daydreams
as the months and years continue to pass.
2. Action without Vision
Business revolutionary Michael Gerber says that
most of us work in the Technician mode. That
is, always doing rather than spending time as
the Entrepreneur of our lives creating the visions
that will guide our every action.
This gets a little heady but simply put, we
create our own mess by not first having a context,
or Vision, under which every action takes place.
As the proverb tells us, we create our own nightmare.
From the enormous project to the smallest tasks:
**Know Your Vision!**
Many of my clients work in extremely high pressure
jobs. They naturally tend to put out the hottest
fires first in an effort to continually whittle
down the ever growing pile of work on their
Within minutes of talking with them, their planned
actions shift from scattered and chaotic to
purposeful and planned out simply because I
have them clearly define their Vision.
If their vision is higher productivity and lower
stress by working smarter. Every action from
our conversation forward will be geared toward
fulfilling this vision.
Here are a few questions that help my clients
plan actions to fit within the context of their
1. What are you putting up with that is draining
focus and energy for your work?
2. What is the plan for the next few hours/day/week?
3. What is realistic for you to accomplish within
this amount of time?
4. What will potentially keep this from happening
that you can avoid?
These are just a few questions that create a
smarter style of work than, which then leads
to higher productivity and less stress.
Regardless of whether you are in a high pressure
job or are just juggling common challenges of
life and career, this philosophy certainly applies.
The proverb of Rob:
Vision and Action together are powerful beyond
measure; so to, is Vision and Action without
© 2004 by Dr. Robert A. Eubanks
About The Author
Dr. Robert A. Eubanks is the founder of Bridge
to Solutions Coaching. He coaches people around
the country via telephone to improve organization,
time management, goal setting and to create
the best darn life possible! For a free 30 minute
coaching session, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit www.bridgetosolutions.com.
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