Hope is a concept with which I have a conflicted relationship. I’m a hopeful person, very much a “glass half full” type. Despite my optimism, I always cringe a little bit when I hear somebody saying that they’re “hoping” that this thing or that thing will happen for them. I like it even less when I find myself hoping for a particular outcome in my own life.
I’m not opposed to hoping things work out for others. I want them to. When I hear a medivac helicopter go over my house late at night on its way to landing at a nearby hospital, I hope their passenger is going to be OK. When I heard about the tsunami in Japan, I hoped they’d get the nuclear plants under control and that loss of life would be minimized. Both of these situations, and many more I hear about every day cause me to hope for good things, but in these cases, that’s about all I can do. There’s no practical action that I can take, apart from donating to a relief fund, that is going to affect the outcomes.
What makes me a bit crazy though, is when I hear people talking about how they’re hoping that this thing or that thing are going to work out for them. In that situation, hope is such a passive response. If you find yourself hoping something is going to work out, you need to ask yourself what it is that you could do to make that happen. What action can you take to make your desired outcome more likely? What can you change in the scenario that tips the balance in your favor? It’s never certain that any action you take will change an outcome where other people or circumstances are involved. But it is certain that you won’t change anything for the better through hope alone.
image by Flickr user pol sifter
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