Learning to Hope

August 19, 2014

Learn to Hope

Hope and faith are powerful feelings of looking towards the future with an optimistic view. Medical science has recognized the importance of hope a long time ago. How many of us have heard of people facing life threatening illnesses like cancer beating the odds of survival based on their hope that they can make it?

Hope is one of important concepts in Positive Psychology. Hope isn’t something you should rely on only when you’re in a crisis. Being hopeful that the future reserves better things is also an important motor in motivation and drive. Why work harder if you can’t believe you will do better tomorrow than today?

If you are familiar with broaden-and-build model of positive emotions by Barbra Fredrickson, you might remember that building yourself up with positive emotions helps increase resilience in the face of crisis and also generates a cycle of positivity in your life, where you “attract” the positive towards you. It’s more or less like tuning into the positivity channel. Which doesn’t mean that no bad thing will happen to you, (we all know bad things happen to good people), but instead you will bounce back faster.

Hope: taking a peak into the future

Being hopeful is liking being able to envision your future. But the only version of future you’re interested in is the one where you’re the winning party. You might say that that’s being an optimistic about the future, I’ll say it’s being hopeful. Optimism is a feeling of the present while hope is a feeling directed towards the future yet to come.

In the face of adversity, we won’t be able to resist unless we see meaning in being resilient and fighting back. And if we’re not hopeful that we can succeed, we will most likely give up, reducing our fighting chances.

Why is being hopeful so important?

In a moment of crisis, having hope may take you the extra mile. And personally, I rather go have a clean conscience believing that everything in my power was done instead of wondering what if…?

Audaces fortuna juvat (translated as “Fortune favors the bold”) is a sentence from Virgil’s poem Oneida and one of my personal favorites. It reminds me that if I’m not willing to take chances and hope for a better future, I’m not really trying and letting myself succeed. It’s almost like giving up without even trying.

But if you’re someone who on believes what’s in front of you, how can you take that leap of faith and rely on hope?

How to rely on hope

  • Focus on being an optimistic on a daily basis. If you’re already an optimistic person, there’s a higher probability of you also being a hopeful person. Focusing and building up positivity around you will attract more positivity and strengthen your will and resilience. And if things can go well for you in the present, why not hope for a better future if you’re working on it?
  • Practice mindfulness and release yourself of negative thoughts. Letting your fears cloud your mind and take the best of you, will only hold you back. When practicing mindfulness and meditation, you can quiet your fears and start seeing solutions where there where only problems.
  • Imagine a future where you can succeed. I do believe we make our own way in life, that’s why I’m hopeful about the future. I can see a brighter future even if there are no evidences of it being true.
  • Be willing to take chances. Or as I like to call them, calculated-risks. A life without the belief that one needs to go after opportunities and take a few chances, is a life where you’re unable to leave your comfort zone. And who knows what’s out there? We just hope for something better.


Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimnix/5309102487