Become an Unborrowed Visionary

DR JOHN DEMARTINI   -   Updated 2 years ago

What makes an unborrowed visionary? What makes them unstoppable?

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DR JOHN DEMARTINI - Updated 2 years ago

We all have an unborrowed visionary living inside of us. The question is - do you have the courage to listen to your inner voice and to stand on the shoulders of giants to let that visionary out? Or will you choose to stand in the shadow of the herd and let your inner visionary lie dormant instead?

In the 1980s when I was doing consulting for many health professional’s offices, I found myself listening to the language of the people working in the clinics. I would listen carefully and make a list of the different words they would utilize throughout their workday.

I noticed that when they were uninspired, less engaged and unfulfilled in their roles and the duties they were busy with, they would tend to say, 'I've got to do this’, ‘I have to do this’, or ‘I must do this.'

It was almost as if there was an outside force forcing them to do it.

So I began to make more detailed lists of the words they used and the emerging patterns revealed in terms of their various levels of engagement.

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. I found that there are five distinct levels:
  1. The lowest level – ‘I got to’, ‘ I must’ or ‘ I have to’ – this tends to be when your will and what is being imposed on you is in conflict. There is often no intrinsic desire to perform that task.
  2. The next level up – ‘ I should', 'I ought to' and 'I am supposed to' - still a conflict because it is not really important to you and you are likely to hesitate and procrastinate.
  3. The next level - 'I need to do this' - a little bit more engaged, but not as engaged as you could be.
  4. The next one - 'I want to' - a transition between something that is extrinsically forcing you to do something and where you feel that you might actually want to do it.
  5. Then - ‘I desire to’, 'I choose to', and ‘ I would love to' – when you tend to be the most engaged, are not likely to need micromanaging or extrinsic motivation, and when you tend to feel spontaneously inspired to act.

Living by design or living by duty

Most, possibly 99% percent of the population lives by duty.

Few, possibly 1% lives by design. They are the ones that master plan, take command of their life, the visionaries who decide how they would love their life to be. They are the ones that are likely to live by priority, and who choose to fill their day with things that are deeply meaningful and inspiring that they spontaneously love doing.

The majority of people on the planet live by duty and tend to want to fit in and conform to what is expected to them. They quieten their inner visionary for a life of conformity. They are often the ones who don't like rocking the boat because they fear rejection and would rather fit in than stand out. As a result, they are likely to become part of the 99% and part of the herd. In other words, they are more likely to become sheep instead of stepping forward and becoming the shepherd. A follower instead of an inspired visionary.

It is the individual who is willing to go and pursue what is deeply meaningful to them that is an unborrowed visionary.

Elon Musk is a wonderful example of an unborrowed visionary as he is someone who didn’t do as he was told by the so-called authorities and experts. NASA told him that he would never create a private enterprise and that it was a waste of time, but he didn’t stop. Now he’s the wealthiest individual in the world because he had the courage to stand out instead of trying to fit in.

This correlates with what I speak about most often – the importance of living in accordance with your highest values.

Every individual has a set of priorities, a set of values that they live their life by. When you live in alignment and congruent with what you value most, your language tends to include: 'I love it. This is what I love doing. I am inspired by it. This is my path, my mission, my vision, my purpose in life.’

When you attempt to live by your lower values, you tend to require external motivation to do it; as opposed to when you are living by your highest values, you tend to feel spontaneously inspired from within to do it.

When you find out what is really truly valuable to you - what your life spontaneously demonstrates and not what you think it 'should be' or what society is expecting it to be – you are more likely to become an unborrowed visionary.

One of the signs that you are living by duty and not design is that your head will tend to be filled with thoughts such as: 'I should be doing this', ‘I ought to be doing this', 'I know I'm supposed to be doing this', and ‘I should be doing this but I really don’t have the time’.

Any time you hear 'should’, 'ought to', 'supposed to', 'got to', 'have to’', 'must' and 'need to' inside your head, it may indicate that you are trying to live by other people's values instead of your own. It is not sustainable and tends to be self-depreciable.

Take my life, for example, which clearly demonstrates my highest values of teaching and research, both of which I do each and every day without being reminded. I don’t have to say, ‘I should teach’ or ‘I have to do some research’, because I am spontaneously inspired to go and do it. That’s how I know that I am living by design. That is what's woken up my inner visionary.

Many people never get to do that because of so many perceived external pressures about how they 'should' be, and one of the 7 fears: The fear of not being smart enough, the fear of failure, the fear of loss of money or not making money, the fear of the loss of loved ones or the respect of loved ones, the fear of rejection, the fear of ill health, death or disease, the fear of somehow breaking the morals and ethics of some spiritual authority that they have subordinated to.

All these phobias are often what prevents you from standing out and instead make you want to do what is expected of you so you can be part of the herd.

That is why in the Breakthrough Experience, I show people how to dissolve those phobias and infatuations with the people they are subordinating to.

I show them how to listen carefully to their imperative language - 'should', 'ought to', 'supposed to', 'got to', 'have to', 'must', 'need' et cetera - and to identify where it is coming from.

If you say, 'I should do that', it’s likely to come from a specific authority or somebody in your life

that you think has more knowledge, more intelligence or more success than you.

As long as you compare yourself to them, and exaggerate their knowledge or importance you are likely to subordinate to them, live in the 'shoulds', and live by duty not design.

It is for this reason that I teach the Demartini Method in the Breakthrough Experience, so I can show you how to set yourself free from living by 'have to's' and 'got to's', and be able to live by ‘love to's’ instead. This is the key to awakening your unborrowed visionary.

Living by design – getting started

A powerful starting point to wake up your inner visionary would be to ask yourself:

  • What is it that I would absolutely love to do and how do I get beautifully and handsomely paid to do it?
  • What are the highest priority actions I can do today to make that happen?
  • What obstacles might I run into and how do I solve them in advance?
  • What worked and what didn't work today?
  • How do I do it more effectively and efficiently tomorrow?
  • No matter what happened today, how is it helping me get my highest values and my mission accomplished?

If you can do that, you are more likely to live by design and be the shepherd, not the sheep. Become the Visionary instead of the frustrated follower. You deserve to live an amazing life. Give yourself permission to dream and step into your true visionary power.


  • You can be an unborrowed visionary not a borrowed visionary.
  • You can have a vision and flourish instead of being without a vision and perish.
  • You can feel inspired to get up in the morning and do something that makes a difference in people's lives that you can't wait to do.
  • You won't make a your greatest difference fitting in. If you fit in, you are less likely to make a difference.
  • You make a difference standing out. You make a difference by living authentically, congruently by what you value most, and by design.
  • If you want to be the shepherd and not the sheep, it would be wise to:
  • Take command of your life by defining what it is that is really valuable to you;
  • Structure your life accordingly;
  • Avoid giving your power away by subordinating to others and living in their values or giving your power away trying to get other people to live in your values; and
  • Give yourself permission to stand out.

That is the path of the unborrowed visionary.


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