Let’s try to remember a time when we were full of hope. Was our hope linked to other mental variables? It is very likely that one of these variables was motivation. If we are hopeful, we can experience firsthand how that hope turns into something very powerful. It is a source of energy from which we can draw to achieve what we want.
In other words, in this context hope becomes something that drives us to action. Just as fire has the power to warm what is in its vicinity. Now we might ask ourselves: what is hope? Well, let’s read on and find out!
“Don’t throw away your dreams. Without hope, what kind of place would this world be? “
Ramon de Campoamor
What is hope
When we think about hope, our thoughts are likely to intuitively include something positive. In fact, we associate every hope with positive values. Hope helps us to change and improve as human beings. But it’s not only that. It also helps us grow and improve our quality of life. It also helps to make those actions routine that make us feel good.
In other words, hope motivates us to take the steps necessary to achieve our desires. It is that initial sense of expectation that is then fed by the idea or feeling that we are about to move in the right direction. But what does it all mean? Hope stimulates us and is also a consequence of the actions we take to satisfy our desires.
“Talent is necessary, but you will never get very far without hope.”
Fernando Trujillo Sanz
Let’s look at an example. Let’s say we’re hopeful when we see an ad for a job we’re interested in. That is our incentive, that motivates. But that is not all. We are also full of hope when we write our application and résumé, and the same goes for the job interview when we are invited. And we need that hope to get what we want and not give up halfway. After all, when finally getting the job, we are still hopeful and delighted.
Ultimately, hope is born in part out of our belief that it is possible to get what we imagine. We can only get closer to this goal if we go there.
And our goal is achieved when we sign a contract that obliges us not to run away at the first sign of difficulty, real or imaginary.
The components of hope
As we’ve seen, our hope can motivate us, provide answers, and even lead to consequences. But it’s not just that. Hope is made up of other elements. Some are related to our emotions. That is why we associate hope with happiness, joy and also the will to live.
On the other hand , we also associate hope with cognitive processes, such as our thoughts and beliefs. Notions of a pleasant future and our relationships with loved ones fit into this category. Other examples of this are self-confidence, trust and hope in achieving our goals and dreams.
Finally, as we spin the idea that we respond to hope, we also see that hope affects our behavior. For example, when something stimulates or motivates us to pursue a certain goal.
The projection of hope
Everything we’ve talked about so far hangs on one key idea, which is the idea that our hope is a motivation for our growth. When we are excited and hopeful, we are better able to remove the obstacles we encounter on our way. Desire keeps us moving and keeps us from feeling paralyzed or losing energy. So hope strengthens.
So we can go on despite our uncertainty. It doesn’t matter that we don’t know for sure we’re achieving our goals. But of course, just like in many other areas of our life, we need to find a balance: if we set ourselves unachievable goals, we are just wasting our time and not becoming happy.
“My greatest wish is to continue to have hope.”
Perhaps that needs a more detailed explanation. When we talk to friends, we might tell them that we love to paint, but so far we haven’t invested much time in it or even completed an art degree. If we then decided to quit our job to live off our pictures, we would certainly fail. Of course we’d feel bad then. It’s also likely that we would avoid other projects that we were actually looking forward to. This is the other side of hope: disillusionment or disappointment. Far from promoting growth, disappointment makes us more conservative and less enterprising.
That doesn’t mean we should stop dreaming or hoping. We should continue to be motivated to become a better person. However, we have to make sure that we do not go overboard. No longer should we give priority to just one wish and neglect other important activities because they too take time.
Finding goals that excite us is important, but we should also make sure they are workable. Otherwise, these projects will become a source of constant frustration. If we set reasonable goals for ourselves, we will see positive consequences and feel more hopeful rather than disappointed.
Images courtesy of Marc Olivier Jodoin, Aleksandr Ledogorov, and Crak Tibbs