Hope is synonymous with overcoming adversity. From the small seeds of hope, many a great thing has come into existence. Many of the greatest speeches in history have used the power of hope to inspire and motivate. There is no doubt that the concept of hope has the power to change lives. But what is hope? How can we better understand it? And how can we nurture hope to build a happier and more fulfilling life?
Despite the power that hope has it is a concept that is not always easy to define. Hope is quite often interchanged with concepts such as optimism, confidence, motivation, but when we examine hope we realise it is none of these things. Hope is difficult to grasp because it almost has an ephemeral quality, a quality that is more associated with concepts such as faith or trust. Despite this effemorial quality, we are all clearly aware of what hope feels like, it has a recognisable visceral quality about it that is unmistakable. When we are in a hopeful state we can clearly recognise its energy and power. When hopeful we are not passive, but rather active and experience a greater sense of control. With hope, there is an intention and a direction for our actions that are derived from our capacity to envision the future.
Although hope does not have a precise definition it is a concept that is synonymous with positive change. Hope nurtures resilience, courage, perseverance, and self-efficacy. By harnessing and becoming clear about what you hope for, it will easier to map out a preferred future. In so doing you will also mobilise your creativity and personal resources, remember ‘where there’s a will there’s a way'. Hope engenders personal agency and self-responsibility giving you a sense of greater control with regards to future events.
So how can we harness the power of hope to make our lives better? Well, hope is all about having a future-focused mindset so it would be logical to start with getting clear about what you want your future to look like. Here we again turn to the power of questions. Asking yourself a few simple questions and noting down detailed answers is a great way towards constructing the future you want to live.
Top 3 Future Focused Questions
What are your best hopes?
Suppose your best hopes have materialised, what would you notice?
Suppose your best hopes have materialised, what would other people in your life notice?
Along with answering the above questions, it is also worth reflecting on your past and present to look for times when your preferred future is/was happening. When you have identified those moments, write about them in as much detail as possible. What did you notice? What did others notice? What was different about your interactions? The devils in the detail so don’t leave anything out, because what might seem as unimportant at the time might upon further reflection carry more significance than you originally thought. The purpose of this activity is that instances of the preferred future that have happened or are happening are important clues into how you could move forwards.
Although hope is difficult to define it carries with it great energy and potential. It also acts as a catalyst for a wide range of emotions that are all
associated with positive change. By reflecting on what your best hopes are and gaining greater clarity you can harness the power of hope to help you move towards a future in which you become the agent of change.