Worthless Item No 3 – Vision Boards


Many many years ago, there was a suitcase under my bed containing snippets from magazines. They weren’t particularly useful at the time, but I thought they would be useful in time. I suspect they probably weren’t because I can’t remember much about them.

Except the crosswords. I’d read in one of those magazines how the black and white squares in crosswords could be used to code a knitting machine and lovely patterns of colour would emerge. But the hoped-for knitting machine didn’t eventuate, so the crosswords, without clues, didn’t amount to anything. Who knows if it was ever true.

Over the years, I’d read about vision boards and seen a few examples on TV. They are a designer’s tool for visualising creative direction, whether  developing a theme for a home renovation or a seasonal collection of clothes.

The frustrated dress designer in me wanted a piece of that.

But my “vision” boards are a hotchpotch of sayings and ideas that grow ever more yellow … and dusty.

It’s time to ask the brutal questions. Do they stay? Do they go? Is there even a future for a vision board, or two, in my life?

These days, there are online vision boards, like Pinterest, which I refuse to use because it will just become the equivalent of a suitcase under the bed. Unseen. Unused. Lost to the e-mists of time.

So, what do I do with these three-dimensional objects that hang cluttered from my wall? This is probably the last project of my Year of Liveability. Let’s make it count!

Step One

Find some information on how visions boards actually work. And thank you to the Huffington Post for an article on 13 January 2015 – helpfully timed for that moment after  new year when people start to realise that the resolution, hastily made, is already failing. Unhelpfully, the underlying message of the article is “go with what works for you”!, which is a good idea but I was looking for something a little more scientific.

I’ve always thought of these boards as reminders. THIS is what I’m aiming for. Another way to think of them, apparently, are as expanders of focus. It’s the difference between the bullseye of a target or the vista that opens out before you when you crest that hill.

Perhaps that’s why my boards contain lots of options. If one doesn’t work, there’s always another.

Step Two

Clear off my existing boards. Does anything there still give me an emotional lift? No point keeping anything that pulls me down. Might as well pull it down. And neutral is a waste of space. Going nowhere. Only worthwhile ideas are worth keeping.

Einstein – definitely staying! Can’t explain why. Perhaps its the eyebrows.

Any encouragement to run. Stays.

Celebrations of road trips. Stays.

Newspaper articles of unknown accuracy. Gone.

Except for that one from 2005 about the Centre for the Mind. It wasn’t the research on autism that got my attention; it was the second half of the article that asked what makes a champion. Did you know that the crucial age is from 8 to 11? Think about your life during those years. How much of you now, your personality and values, can be traced to those particular years?

A quote from Conrad’s Heart of Darkness … I’m a little puzzled as to why I’ve likened myself to Marlow, but not just to him, also to the “twisted, ruined, tin-pot steamboat” he restored as well. I am my own project? How Sartrean, or Kierkegaardian (or was it some other philosopher who claimed we are our own project?)

“She was nothing so solid in make, and rather less pretty in shape, but I had expended enough hard work on her to make me love her. No influential friend would have served me better. She had given me a chance to come out a bit – to find out what I could do.”

Not finished yet. Stays.

Alain de Botton’s quote about press photography: “Photos must not just illustrate or corroborate; they must add knowledge, advance understanding”. Something I definitely want to strive for! Stays.

Step Three

Acknowledge that I will still have a board, or two, and change the title of this post from Worthless Item to Reclaimed Space.

Time for some new visions.



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