Hope is a powerful emotion. Martin Luther stated “Everything
that is done in the world is done by hope.” A firm knowledge of what hope is
and how to apply it in our lives can help us to find greater success in many
facets of our lives.
Definition and RoleHope is when we have an expectation or a desire for an event
to take place. It is a feeling of trust that a positive outcome is in the
future. Hope requires a sense of optimism and positive thinking. As suggested here, we can use hope to drive our intrinsic
motivation to achieve goals and expectations that may otherwise go unfulfilled.
For example, research has shown actively hoping for
achievements has lead students to reach higher GPAs. One particular study with
law students revealed their hope for good performance in school was more
indicative than their LSAT scores for the level of success they achieved
through law school.
Hope gives us the will to work harder to achieve the desired
outcome. Those who are hopeful tend to put into place action plans that help
them to make their expectation a reality. Hope is not a sedentary word – it is
an action word.
Hope vs WishThe terms hope and wish are often incorrectly thought of as
interchangeable but they are actually two very different concepts. A wish is a
hypothetical or unlikely to happen scenario, whereas a hope is, as stated
above, a desired outcome in the present or future. For example, you may state,
“I wish my feet would shrink so I could fit in those cute shoes” or “I hope the
weather will be sunny this weekend.” One is a hypothetical wish for smaller
feet (unlikely to happen) while the other is a desired situation for good
weather (possible to happen in the future). Therefore, hope is much more
powerful, leading to results.
Hope in Trying TimesAs we go through the hard times that will inevitably fall
upon each and every one of us, hope can be a powerful source of strength to
help us get through. Try some of these suggestions:
With hope being a word of action, make a list of what
you can control in your situation. Is there something you can be doing to
either rectify a problem or speed up the resolution? If the situation is
completely out of your control, what can you do to change your attitude to be
more hopeful? Remember, you always have control over how you react to a
situation. Once you have your list, act! Make the changes necessary and you
will see your hopes realized.
Hope is also a word about the future, so look forward
and recognize how this hard time will benefit you. Will you be stronger or more
patient? Do you now have more empathy to help others through similar trials? Do
you now have knowledge that will keep such situations from happening again?
Think of what you hope to gain from this difficulty.
Use your previous experiences as motiativation to
increase your hope. Think back to where you started and what actions you have
taken to be successful in the past. Being able to see your progress will give
you more hope in your ability to make it through this difficulty.
Teaching Children to
HopeThese hard times are not limited to adults. Children go
through trials of their own and many have to learn early in life how to also
harness hope. Here are some ways to help your children learn the power of hope
and how to increase it in their own lives:
Help your children to set realistic goals. Those that
are too easy or too difficult to achieve will not be helpful. Giving children
an opportunity to look at where they want to be and set a plan to get there,
will increase their hope for future achievements.
Be honest with your child of the reality of trials and
Be encouraging and motivate your child to achieve at
their highest potential. Show them they have the capability to master their
Last but not least, be a good example to them of hope,
both in good and bad times.
Hope is an underutilized tool that can be helpful in our
everyday lives, as well as in times of hardship. By learning how to use it and
apply it for ourselves and our families, we can realize our dreams, develop
strength of character, and find ourselves more successful in life.