The Power of Hope

The Power of Hope

I talk and write a lot about the keys to success, and often I throw the word “real” in front of the word “success.” I also talk about the keys to success “in the most important roles of your life.” Ever wonder why?

The reason is because true success is not always associated with fame, fortune, or power. These things can accompany real success, but they are not the definition of success. Experiencing true success in the most important roles of our lives has much more to do with character, attitude, and integrity than fame, fortune, or power. In fact, we all know of famous, rich, powerful people we’d never consider truly successful.

At the same time, if you’re like me, you know people who aren’t famous, don’t have a lot of money, and can’t boast about any type of powerful position, yet you see them as incredibly successful. No matter what life throws at them, they strive for excellence, embrace integrity, and live with character. In other words, they hold true to their values and live lives of hope!

Hope is one of those live-it-forward character traits found in most people who are truly successful. Their hope is powerful and inspiring. It helps them live into their best story even in the midst of challenging and often overwhelming circumstances.

Yet hope is hard to define. It’s more than optimism; more than positivity. What exactly is hope?

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The best definition I’ve read came from Dr. Asa Andrew’s book, Empowering Your HealthIn it, he quotes Dr. Jerome Groopman, M.D. who practiced hematology and oncology for thirty years. Throughout the years, Dr. Groopman’s patients taught him about the power of hope. Here’s the quote Dr. Andrew uses from the book The Anatomy of Hope:

Hope is one of our central emotions, but we are often at a loss when asked to define it. Many of us confuse hope with optimism, a prevailing attitude that things will turn out for the best. But hope differs from optimism. Hope does not arise from being told to think positively, or from hearing an overly rosy forecast. Hope, unlike optimism, is rooted in unalloyed reality. Although there is no uniform definition of hope, I found one that seemed to capture what my patients had taught me. Hope is the elevating feeling we experience when we see—in the mind’s eye—a path to a better future. Hope acknowledges the significant obstacles and deep pitfalls along that path. True hope has no room for delusion.

I love this definition of the power of hope! In the face of significant obstacles and deep pitfalls along our path, hope is that elevated feeling we experience when we see—in our minds eye—a live-it-forward path to a better future.