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Four reasons why hope breeds success

A larger vision

“Don’t get your hopes up,” the world so often says. Being hopefully optimistic leaves you open to disappointment, and the result? Hope aversion.

But naturally optimistic and hopeful people tend to achieve more. Look at most of the people that you know who are high achievers. In general, they’re dreamers—inherently optimistic people who catch a vision and drive for it. They dare to think big, aim high, and reach for records. They’re not held hostage by reality, but see things not for what they are, but what they could be.

Going all the way

“Be realistic,” is all too often associated with holding back effort. It usually means “don’t get too attached.” But attachment is exactly what propels the optimist to drive harder, to push farther, to commit, to take risks, and those are the very things that lead to success. To them the vision is almost tangible; they let themselves get sucked in, attached, and that keeps them going when everybody else gives up.

Path finding

The path to any valuable objective is bound to be fraught with challenges. A realist looks at those challenges and sees roadblocks, but an optimist sees only the paths around them. They lose little time focusing on the challenges themselves, for they’re too captivated by the possible alternatives that may lead to the destination. This focus on the destination allows them to maneuver more nimbly, more quickly, and with more surety.

Not afraid to try

Finally, as I talked about yesterday in “Reconciling hope with failure,” a realist sees failure as terminal. To them, failure means they need to adjust their view of reality rather than keep trying, for disappointment should be avoided. To them, to hope is to risk. But the hopeful optimist is fueled by failure. They don’t see failure as disappointment (nor, in truth, as failure), but rather an indication to try something else, some new approach. And the more attached they are to their vision, the more they’re willing to keep trying.

Look at all the breakthroughs we have experienced as a people. Ask yourself if those were led by realists, focusing on what is “realistic,” or by optimists, hoping for the realization of a dream. Would we have ever walked on the moon? Would we have ever flown at all? Would we be able to peer millions of light years into space? Would we have the miracles of medicine that we have today? Would we have computers that can process unthinkable amounts of data in unthinkable amounts of time and that can form a vast, global, interconnected network on which any person, anywhere can start a blog and talk to the world? Would we have any of the rich media sources we have now? The list could go on indefinitely.

None of these would be possible without the pricelessly propelling power of hope. Hope brings dreams to reality. Hope makes the impossible possible.

If so many miracles are made reality by simply choosing to hope, what kind of changes would be possible in your life if you, too, decided to see it not for what it is, but for what it could be?

-Rusty

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