Strengthen Your Hope

The power of hope is a wondrous thing. Children given hope strive harder than others to reach their full potential. Adults given hope overcome larger obstacles than others do, and achieve more in their work and their lives. In a sense, hope is a magic elixir that flips the switch from negative to positive thinking and motivates purposeful action.

At bottom, hope is based on the idea that what we want is possible. That notion is critically important, because when we don’t think our goals are possible, we generally won’t even try to achieve them. But when we do, we will.

That’s a big reason why intentionally cultivating and strengthening your hope is an important element in raising your level of productivity and success.

Here are some effective ways to do it:

Review Your Goals

Because hope rests on the idea what you want is possible, it’s important to verify the tasks, projects, and goals you’re currently pursuing are realistically within your reach.

That’s one reason what I wrote in this piece is quite relevant to building hope, because no matter how grand your ultimate goals, it’s smart to practice gradualism, rather than try too quickly for too much that’s too difficult.

For example, suppose your aspirations are extraordinary, such as becoming an Olympic athlete, writing a “best seller,” helming a large corporation, or running a marathon. Goals such as these are likely “out of reach” when you first start working toward them. But you may legitimately hope to get there if you plan to make progress via a gradual series of increasingly more ambitious milestones, the first few of which are quite possible for you to achieve fairly soon.

In that scenario, there’s a solid basis for hope.

Collect Positive Markers

Hope can be fragile, easily weakened by both real and imagined setbacks. That’s why one element of strengthening your hope involves focusing on relevant good news and consciously discounting or even ignoring any bad.

Obviously, there are limits here. You don’t want to foolishly follow the “Road to Paradise” when it’s washed out and impassible.

But much of the bad news and setbacks that may come up as you strive to succeed will be neither deal-breakers nor permanent. Quite often, disheartening information related to your goals is nothing more than a notification of another obstacle you’ll need to overcome, and – many times – not even a big one.

Part of collecting positive markers involves actively “curating” information: gathering positive news, positive historical examples, and positive data that support your hope for the future, while also consciously ignoring or refuting any negative information you may encounter. This curated information will support your feeling of hope, and can also make it easier to measure your progress toward the goals you’re hoping to achieve.

Find Other Hopefuls

For most people, it’s psychologically difficult to build or maintain hope when others around you are negative or even neutral. Hope flourishes better in the company of like-minded others.

One reason is that hopeful others will support and assist with your efforts to accomplish whatever you’re trying to do. These companions will also keep you informed of any information and developments that might make your goal easier and more likely to achieve.

Involvement in a group of like-minded people will also help you feel what you’re hoping for is worthwhile.

An additional element in the quest to strengthen your hope is to think, plan, and behave with an action orientation. In simple terms, it’s OK to hope a goal is achieved, but you’ll strengthen your hope even more when you take active steps toward making your hope a reality.

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