Hope or Just Wishful Thinking?

Updated: Jul 20

2022 can be a year of HOPE for you - a year to open your arms and embrace change and success.

"Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are." - Augustine of Hippo

In his book, "Change Your World," John Maxwell talks about the foundational action we need to know and exercise to embrace Hope. John states the following:

"…hope can be the greatest asset for a person or organization, and it is often the difference between success and failure."

If it's true that Hope is so important, do we understand Hope and how to cultivate Hope in our life?

Is Hope Important?

Have you ever felt helpless or hopeless?

In the early 1990s, one of my friends was going through a divorce he did not want. John didn't know if he would ever be able to see his children again or at least as much as he wanted to, and he stood to lose everything for which he cared. He became hopeless and, as a result, began to make decisions based on feeling helpless. He thought, "I'll just give up and live in a shelter or kill myself." Fortunately, he decided to seek wise counsel and fight through the darkness. Because his attitude improved, he was able to work with the court system towards an acceptable plan with his family. Although it wasn't what he wanted, it wasn't the worst outcome either.

In another case, two good friends ended up divorcing after about 25 years of marriage. He became despondent and circled downhill until he eventually died from a drug overdose at a somewhat young age. Why the stark difference between these two situations?

Hope and helplessness may be both ends of the spectrum for us. When we are hopeful, we are looking forward to some change in life. When hopeless, we feel helpless and less likely to take action, or at least the action we take is not preferential. In the American Heritage Dictionary, we see some definitions of Hope:

  1. To wish for a particular event that one considers possible.

  2. To have confidence; trust.

  3. To desire and consider possible: synonym: expect.

Another definition says this:

"…faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."

If we hope for something, we have some faith or belief that what we hope for is possible. If I am hoping for something that I know is impossible, it is no more than a wish or daydream. I can wish or daydream about piloting a starship to another galaxy, but it is not possible at this time - however, I still enjoy the dream.

Turning Hope to Reality

Having Hope for a particular outcome indicates something is important to us, perhaps a goal we want to accomplish. However, if we hope with no action, we will never realize our Hope. A very wise person once penned,

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is like a tree of life."

There are probably many folks who live life with unfulfilled Hope and end up never seeing anything come from it. Having Hope and being filled with Hope is a good start, but it takes a catalyst for Hope to become a reality. Mix Hope with intentional action and you will see your Hopes become a reality - at that point, you are cooking with fire! Here are three practical steps you can take to help realize your hopes and dreams.

  1. Determine Your Purpose in life. Does your Hope or dream align with your purpose? If not, you may want to consider the practicality of what you are hoping for. If you have more than one Hope, prioritize and decide what you want more than anything else. Concentrate on that one crucial Hope or dream.

  2. Take Intentional Action. Determine three things you can do every week to move in the direction of making your Hope or dream become a reality. Be wise in what you can and cannot affect. For instance, I may hope or dream of running a full or half marathon. There is a lot I can do to work towards the fulfillment of my goal or objective. On the other hand, if my Hope is centered around someone else, I can do less to affect the situation. I may hope one of my children will change their attitude or recover from an illness. In that case, I could have much less influence, and perhaps I am relegated to maybe prayer and encouragement. Keep in mind it is possible to take action and communicate in ways that inhibit your success instead of promoting it.

  3. Engage Accountability. Find people who believe in you and allow them to hold you accountable for your actions. Accountability can be very powerful to help you achieve your hopes and dreams even faster than you 'dreamed it possible. A well-trained professional coach can do wonders.

Keep in mind some of John Maxwell's rules to success. It will take longer than planned, cost more than calculated, and be more effort than expected. There will be detours, roadblocks, and failures along the way. Expect the best, prepare for the worst, weather the storm, and don't give up!

 

H Mark Taylor - Independent Certified Coach, Trainer, and Speaker with Maxwell Leadership Certified Team


H Mark Taylor enjoys living on a farm with his life-long friend and partner, romping around with their German Shepherd companions, and practices enjoying life with mindfulness. He is a leadership & life coach with more than 20 years of experience and training, earned his Masters in Information Management from Washington University - St. Louis, and has multiple certifications in Leadership, Project Management, and Cyber Security. H Mark gives all credit to his wife, Young, and to God.


© copyright 2022 H Mark Taylor

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