Evidence based findings showed that hope leads to everything from better performance in school to more success in the workplace to greater happiness overall. When we’re excited about ‘what’s next,’ we invest more in our daily life, and we can see beyond current challenges.
Unfortunately, only half of us measure high in hope. Fortunately, however, hope can be learned. Hopeful people share four core beliefs:
- The future will be better than the present.
- I have the power to make it so.
- There are many paths to my goals.
- None of them is free of obstacles.
Hope includes a range of emotions, such as joy, awe and excitement. But it’s not empty, tunnel-vision enthusiasm. Lopez describes hope as a combination of your head and heart. It’s a golden mean between euphoria and fear. It is a feeling where transcendence meets reason and caution meets passion. Lopez also distinguishes hope from other terms such as optimism. He notes that optimism is an attitude. You think your future will be better than today. But hope is both the belief in a better future and the action to make it happen.
There is a three-step process that propels hope into action: goals, agency and pathways. In other words, hopeful people pick good goals, know how to make them happen, and spot and seek out the pathways that will move them forward.
Hope is contagious. Your hope is actually dependent on your entire social network, including best friends, role models and secondhand associates. And your hope can be shared with others. We can spread hope by modelling it through stories and our actions and providing support to others. Hope gives us the power to effect change.