“The first step toward creating an improved future is developing the ability to envision it. Vision will ignite the fire of passion that fuels our commitment to do whatever it takes to achieve excellence. Only vision allows us to transform dreams of greatness into the reality of achievement through human action. Vision has no boundaries and knows no limits. Our vision is what we become in life” (Tony Dungy)
“Whatever It Takes” is a song by American rock band, Imagine Dragons. The song was released on May 8, 2017, as a promotional single through Kidinakorner and Interscope. It later became the third single from the band’s third studio album, Evolve, on October 6, 2017. The song is about being the best at what you do no matter the obstacle, a theme found to be prevalent on the album. It recognises human frailty (mistakes, miserable self-image, and doubts) and other barriers to success (negativity, tripping up, and stiff competition), but also hopes for a future of significance (what we were born to become). Some of the lines read as follows:
Don’t wanna be the parenthetical, hypothetical
Working hard on something that I’m proud of, out of the box
An epoxy to the world and the vision we’ve lost
I’m an apostrophe
I’m just a symbol to remind you that there’s more to see
I’m just a product of the system, a catastrophe
And yet a masterpiece, and yet I’m half-diseased
And when I am deceased
At least I’ll go down to the grave and die happily
And leave the body and the soul to be a part of thee
I do what it takes
The question, “Are you willing to do whatever it takes?”, scares me – do I have the resolve, the focus, and the energy to achieve my dreams, or will I end up with a bag full of regrets, realising that I have never achieved my best potential or contributed in the way that I could? While I believe that my most important work is ahead of me and not behind me, will I be aroused by an inner passion to become a transition person – transcending my own needs and tapping into the deepest, most noble impulses of human nature?
In the introduction to the Readers’ Digest book, Everyday Greatness, Dr Stephen R Covey notes that there are three choices that lie at the roots of a life of significance, (commentary mine), viz:
- The Choice to Act – will we act upon life, or will we merely be acted upon? Although we can’t control all that happens to us in life (and we are tossed around quite a bit by circumstances that are out of our control), there are many opportunities over which we do have control. Most people that leave profound legacies are common people making common choices in everyday private ways. Those who get the most out of life and those who give the most are those who make the choice to act.
- The Choice of Purpose – to what ends, or purposes, will our daily choices lead? Our daily activities should reflect alignment to a greater purpose rather than the rush of just getting things done. Many people hurriedly run from place to place, yet really end up going nowhere. The ensuing frustration leads to exhaustion and emptiness. Focus on vision, giving and contribution, however, leads to fulfilment and peace.
- The Choice for Principles – will we live our lives in accordance with proven principles, or will we suffer the consequences of not doing so? Life is not just about positive thinking, however helpful that might be, but more importantly about immovable, timeless, and universal principles. As with science, principles exist within the human realm, such as vision, innovation, humility, quality, balance, empathy, magnanimity, and perseverance. These principles can mobilise us toward greater personal effectiveness and increased life satisfaction. They also assist us in making a positive impact on others.
“Whatever it takes…” reflects an attitude to life that is full of determination, energy, and resolve. It highlights doing good in a world that screams so much of turmoil, pain, and misery. It sets the bar for human stretch and contribution. It brings out the best and encourages more. It facilitates impact.