Go Ahead…Get Your Hopes Up
Remember…hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
(Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption)
The opposite of hope is not pessimistic doubt; it’s expectation.
There’s a reason that every Alcoholics Anonymous meeting is filled with people trying to let go of all their “expectations.” Expecting everyone and everything to work out perfectly according to your plan has an amazing ability of driving people to drink.
This is different than hope. Like expectation, hope is an attitude about the future, a way of choosing to look upon what has yet to happen. Where hope and expectation differ, however, is in their approach to certainty. People who expect success, based on their lineage, their strategy, and more often than not, the enormous expectations placed on them by others—these folks operate with a need to know for certain how things will work out. “My status plus my skills plus my plan will absolutely equal victory. I know it will happen. It has to.”
Hope sees certainty very differently. Hope is not absolutely sure of what will happen, but it longs for a positive result. It sees a successful outcome as a wonderful possibility, and it will therefore work incredibly hard to achieve it, but hope would never go as far as to predict it, or depend upon it. Therefore, if it doesn’t happen, hope is disappointed, but okay. Hope can be saddened, but it doesn’t lose hope if success remains elusive.
When the expected doesn’t come to fruition, however, the one expectant of certain success looks about as stupid as all the cults over the centuries who’ve predicted the exact date of the end of the world. (you might remember the Mayan 2012 apocalypse, which didn’t happen) And these expectant people feel even worse.
So hope more, and expect less. Hope for the life you want most, and then call yourself to the best choices, the best plans, the best tactics to bring that hoped-for life into reality. Just be careful not to expect it to happen.
[This is an excerpt from our newest book, Choose Your Own Adulthood, a book for young people (and old) longing to experience the best this journey of being an adult has to offer. It comes out March 28th!]
Peace begins with pause,