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The power of hope

Updated: Jan 28, 2022

Hope is a belief in an outcome. More specifically, hope is a belief I can obtain something I want.

Hope has been described as “…a perceived capacity to identify…strategies to achieve one’s goal…” (Gallagher et al., 2021, pg. 235). In this regard, hope becomes dependent on my ability to find a way to get what I want. Meaning, the more I get what I want the more hope I feel. But what happens when I struggle to accomplish goals; or if I constantly feel disappointed because I can’t get what I want? The answer is simple, hope is replaced by its opposite; despair.

When hope suffers the outcome results in an increase of difficult emotion. For example, anxiety has been described as a “…state of helplessness, because of a perceived inability to predict, control, or obtain desired results” (Gallagher et al., 2021, pg. 235). With this in mind, it can be argued that hope is nothing more than a feeling, or a belief, I can predict, control, or create the type of outcomes I desire.

This simply means hope is a driving factor in goal completion; or a driving factor in my efforts to create success. With an understanding that hope is a belief “I can do something” we can also understand that the greater my hope the greater my ability to act (Barlow, 2000).

For example, I once met a woman who struggle to dream. Her life was filled with disappointment because every time she wanted something, and got really excited about this thing, something happened that made getting what she wanted impossible. This happened so often she stopped dreaming; she stopped dreaming because she believed it was a waste of time.

Emotionally speaking, hope speaks of my belief I can predict, or control, my environment or a specific outcome. Most people struggle with hope because past experience has taught what they want is not important; some even learn what they want is impossible.

Perhaps the time has come to separate hope from my past and other people. Perhaps the time has come to take control by allowing myself to dream about what could be and even what should be.

This is vital because without hope I lack the motivation to do anything different; without hope I lack a reason to change; without hope my dreams are crushed by difficulty; without hope I am a slave to my environment which cares little about what is important for me.

What then do we do? We give ourselves permission to dream; we foster hope within ourselves. We dare to dream with an understanding that a spark of hope has the power to create an environment where we can “predict, control, or obtain desired results”. It really is that simple. Hope is where anything good begins; because without hope good can’t get started.

Think about it this way. If I do not believe I can accomplish a goal, or a task, why would I waste any time trying to create this outcome? Hope is nothing more than a belief “I can”. Most people say “I can’t” because they look at past failure as evidence. The power of hope begins the process of “thinking different”.

Hope is nothing more than a switch in thinking from “I can’t” to at least “I’ll try”. Hope is a switch in thinking. Hope sparks a belief anything can be different; and if we try we can create a different outcome; because if we never try we will never achieve anything different than what we have right now.

If we allow hope to die all we get is an increase in negative emotion; if hope dies so do our dreams! Are you willing to let hope die; or are you willing to hold onto hope believing a step in the right direction gets me closer to what I want?

Hope is a powerful emotion. Hope stands at the beginning of anything good; hope stands at the beginning of anything great. Without hope we have no reason to try, to fight, to dream; because without hope we can’t believe anything can ever be different.

But things are different for lots of people all the time. The only difference between those who feel different, and those who feel the same, is a willingness to hope that something different can happen. If we are willing to take a risk; if we are willing to hope for something better; we begin the process of change; we start creating the type of success we desire.

It all begins with hope; because when I am willing to dream; when I allow hope to push my change; I begin my journey. Once I dare to dream I take a huge step forward to getting what I want; and even what I deserve.


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Barlow, D. H. (2000). Unraveling the mysteries of anxiety and its disorders from the perspective of emotion theory. American Psychologist, 55(11), 1247–1263.

Gallagher, M. W., Smith, L. J., Richardson, A. L., D’Souza, J. M., & Long, L. J. (2021). Examining the longitudinal effects and potential mechanisms of hope on COVID-19 stress, anxiety, and well-being. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 50(3), 234–245.

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