Connecting these two worlds is not actually that hard (more on that in a moment), but these worlds require such different skills and thinking that often people are good at inhabiting one but not the other. In fact, people usually think their preferred world is better. Most visionary leaders, masters of the aspirational realm, can’t think about a profit-and-loss statement. Scientists, engineers, and accountants-people who live in the world of reality-think most visions, values, and mission statements are a complete waste of time.
Before I explain how you create this kind of bridge, it’s important to grasp the difference between the aspirational world and the ‘real’ one. ” In the aspirational world, the more you give things away, the more you have. The lingua franca of this world are ideas and emotions–hope, pride, esteem. Candidate Obama has masterfully dealt in the aspirational world, creating and growing the aspirations of hope and change.
The other world is “reality,” and it is composed of finite resources that cannot be manufactured, like oil, gold, money and time. Give away some of your time, or money, and you have less time or money. Perhaps someday, technology will be able to make these things, but for now, there’s only so much of them. When they’re gone, they’re gone.
Getting back to Obama, he can follow these three steps by first rebooting his hope and change engine. It’ll be harder this time, because people feel let down. But even with a small glimmer of optimism, he can then focus us all on real-world accomplishments that are measureable. The truth is that jobs, money, innovation, and wealth sit on the border between aspirations and reality, not unlike microchips and buildings at USC. Focus purely on reality, and they look unmovable. Look just at aspirations and people get excited and then crushed. The aspirations-reality-aspirations cycle described in this blog post can produce jobs, income, and wealth on a level our country has never seen.