The dictionary says hope means desiring a positive experience. As in…I hope this post helps someone…lol. It’s believing that our future will be better than our present. That’s huge because without it, we are hope−less. So, how we think about the future has a huge impact on how we feel right now.
Which of the following three ways do you most often think about the future?
Hope is powerful when it combines belief with action. You create hope by doing three things:
So hope is not only about setting a high expectation about our future, it’s about setting a high expectation of ourselves. My former mother-in-law used to tell me this quote by William H. Johnsen: “If it is to be, it’s up to me.”
Now on to optimism.
Here’s a study¹ that blew me away.
Researchers at the University of Kentucky went back in the records to analyze the entry statements of young women (mean age: 22) newly appointed as nuns. Because they live very controlled lifestyles, they make good research subjects. Their entry statements were ranked from most positive to least. Fast forward 63 years, and researchers found that, of the most positive nuns, 97% were still alive at age 85. Of the least positive, it was 52%. Eight years later, 52% of the most positive nuns were still alive at age 93. Of the least positive nuns, only 18% had survived.
So how do we build a powerful optimism?
There are many ways, but one of the most research-backed is a hope journal. Make a system for regularly recording your hopes for the future, visualize them, then describe what actions you can take to get there and how that will feel.
Which, of course, brings us back around to the three keys to developing hope. Do you remember them? A powerful goal, belief that you can achieve it, and multiple paths to get around the obstacles.
Let’s get busy firing up our hope and optimism on our way to building our best life!
¹ Danner,D., et al. “Positive emotions in early life and longevity: findings from the nun study” National Center for Biotechnology Information (May 2001). Web. Accessed 29 April 2020.
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