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Ten Steps Ahead by Erik Calonius


What happens when you take hard research from neuroscience and couple it with experiential data gathered through interviews conducted with visionaries such as Steve Jobs and Richard Branson? The product of that work is Ten Steps Ahead, by Erik Calonius. Calonius set out to discover what sets apart today’s business visionaries from the rest of us and has published his findings in this interesting and helpful book. In the introductory pages, Calonius writes, “the brain is a visionary device with the primary function to create pictures in our minds that can be used for blueprints for things that do not yet exist.” So far, so good. But what really makes a visionary tick? How does it work? Is the power of vision a gift for a select few who are duly endowed? Or are there some basic elements that can be developed by anyone with a brain?

The writer observes that visionaries have the ability to find something that the rest of us have been missing. They don’t need to see what doesn’t exist to change the world, they just need to see what’s already here but unseen by others. For visionaries, seeing is everything! Ideas, like images, float around in our minds. The thing that distinguishes the visionary, however, is their ability to hold those images in their minds for extended periods of time, changing and altering them as they view them.

So how does that work? As a general rule, visionaries can’t tell you. They know what happens in their minds, but can’t explain the process in a manner that can be replicated. To them it’s just the way it is. Calonius, however, has investigated the phenomena and suggests several elements that make visionaries tick, such as how they “see” and how intuition guides their inner decision making about their ideas. Beyond the ability to see and to think intuitively, additionally, is the passion, courage, and conviction that takes emerging ideas and pushes them into reality. “Courage,” he writes, “is what separates dreamers from visionaries…the contented do not make discoveries.”

Ten Steps Ahead is well researched and well written. With a good balance of data and narrative, Calonius has provided an admirable attempt at answering important questions about vision and creativity that will challenge the reader to think about their thinking.

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