The Two Sides to Hope

Hope is one of those words that we use a lot but writing or talking about it is like trying to catch a rainbow or nail Jello to the wall. We know it’s there but just can’t get to it. There are two sides to hope to consider—one that motivates and one that prevents. You, of course, don’t have to agree with me on this, but at least read to the end and do you own pondering.

Hope is the grease that keeps the wheel turning

Hope is positive in that it keeps us going. The idea is that as long as I have hope, I will keep on trying, step up my efforts, and hang in there. When ill people lose hope of recovery they are almost certain to die. If people do not have hope that they can lose weight, they will never begin a program of healthy eating and realistic exercise. When you have no hope that your garden will grow, you will not plant the vegetables or flowers. People consumed by grief hope that things will someday be less painful. Without that hope they cannot endure the pain of loss. They n



eed hope. Hope is the grease that keeps the wheel turning, so to speak.  When people lose hope that things will get better, they generally stop trying.

“I hope things will get better. And I hope I can do this; Truly, I hope I get  rich, free, beautiful, slim, happy, successful, married, famous—put in your own words.”

The flip side

On the flip side, as a therapist when I give a client an assignment that I think will help them come to grips with the problem and I ask “Can you do this?” If they respond with “I hope so” I’m pretty sure that nothing will happen. They will not take action to make a change. They will hope and hope but never change their thinking or their direction in order to make change happen. The sister word to hope is “try. “ “I will try” is a phrase that almost always implies that nothing is going to happen. My response is always, “Don’t try. Be like Nike and “Just do it.” (Easy for me to say.)

The world needs hope

A world without hope is like a soda without fizz—the taste is there but the fun is gone. It’s flat.

Hope, alone, though, is like the fizz without the wonderfully tasting soda. There is only fizz and no substance.

I can hope and do nothing and that is what happens— nothing. Or I can plan action and without hope of success, I will most likely not act. Some examples will make this clearer.

Weight loss

Hope: I hope I can lose weight but I do not intend to take the time to devise a food plan and I certainly have no intentions of going to a gym.

No Hope: I have a great food plan and a gym membership. But I have no hope so I don’t use either one

Hope and Action: I have hope that I can lose weight, My food and exercise plan are in place  and I started this morning.

A book

Hope: I hope to write a book but I don’t take the time to research what’s already out there, or do an outline, or write the first chapter.

No Hope: I have a novel written but I have no hope of getting it published so I don’t try.

Hope and Action: I have written a novel and, because I hope to have it published, I am in the process of finding an agent and shopping my manuscript around to as many publishers as I can.


Hope: I have strong opinions on politics and government and I hope for better leadership but I don’t register to vote or go to the polls on election day.

No Hope: I am a registered voter and I’ve never missed an election but this year I see no hope so I stay at home on election day.

Hope and Action: I am a registered voter and I know that my vote counts. And because I have hope for America I most certainly will cast my vote in November and get as many who think as I do to go to the polls as well.

Can there be self-improvement without hope? I don’t think so.

I have hope that someone will read this to the end and, therefore, I’ll post it.  Let me know what you think by making a comment below. That fulfillment of hope is up to you.  Have a great day.

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