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How to reconcile hope with failure

Living the life of an optimist, one naturally filled with hope, how do you continually reconcile a seemingly never-ending barrage of disappointment? Certainly, merely choosing to live optimistically or being hopeful doesn’t make you immune to disappointment, nor does it mean that everything you hope for will come true.

But for an optimist, that doesn’t matter. Optimism and disappointment are not antithetical. They co-exist in perfect harmony. In truth, the relationship between hope and disappointment is symbiotic, not mutually exclusive.

Often people think that if you have “realistic” expectations, you’ll be better prepared for let downs. They think that if you are optimistic and too hopeful, you’ll have farther to fall. Because of this, many people don’t dare to hope—there’s too much risk.

So they hedge their dreams based on what they perceive to be the most likely outcome, and as such, they usually get what they aim for (since they don’t aim as high). The result is that when they do miss, it’s a bigger deal. They’re not as used to it.

But someone who lives in hope experiences disappointment all the time, for you very seldom get exactly what you hoped for. So “disappointment” simply becomes part of the process, and you start to view it differently—much like a runner becomes accustomed to the pain of running. To them, running isn’t pain; running is an outlet—it’s freeing, and it’s emotional. But when you’re not a runner, running is painful.

So when the hopeful don’t realize the full extent of their desire, it’s very seldom disappointing at all. Instead, they’re usually fueled by their failure. It spurs them to try again, and again, and again.

You don’t lower your aim just because you missed. You just shoot again.

-Rusty

P.S.  You may also want to see “Four reasons why hope breeds success“.

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