This is (not) your friendly Hope Dealer

I recently came across someone who described themselves as a “Hope Dealer” and loved the pun, even though I’m not crazy about the use of the word “Hope,” since I believe its implications is often missing an “ingredient.”

In speaking with people who incorporated hope in much of their everyday life and as an ingredient to achieving their goals, I have come to realize that some of us may use hope as a type of crutch. Wordnik defines “hope” as “to wish for something with expectation of its fulfillment” and the word “wish” as “a desire, longing, or strong inclination for a specific thing.” This entails that if we hold on to enough hope, we will somehow overcome whatever ordeal we are dealing with or get whatever we are hoping for. However, neither of these includes the use of an action (the missing ingredient) to achieve said hope, wish or desire, leaving the fulfillment in the hands of whichever super power’s hands one believes in.

It seems that in many cases, hope is used as a stand-alone concept (on its own, without any accompanying action objectives) which can often lead to disappointment and perhaps an unfortunate feeling of failure when these hopes and desires are not fulfilled. To be clear, I am not referring to instances where hope is used in sentences such as “I hope you have a nice day” but rather, I am referring to situations such as “I hope I lose some weight soon.” The latter would be somewhat ineffective without an accompanying action promoting weight loss.

So, what might be the solution? Since a big part of what I teach includes “positive thinking,” I have been asked how this concept compares to “hope”. Let’s take a look at three types of statements:

Negative thinking: “I really dislike the situation I’m in” – I think life is hard and there’s nothing I can do about it. (lack of solution statement)

Hope: “I really dislike the situation I’m in” – but with hope, things will get better. (neutral statement lacking action)

Positive thinking: “I really dislike the situation I’m in” – but I know things can improve and I will do everything in my power to get there. (action statement)

The key to positive thinking not only resides in the positivity of one’s attitude toward a matter, but must also include some form of action statement within it. Of course, there are other significant elements when we delve further into topics such as goal setting and successful accomplishments (I cover these in my individual sessions and workshops), but this blog simply aims to illustrate what the word “hope” entails and the reason I’m not fond of its usage. However, to add a bit more substance to my explanation, I should also mention that the results one achieves in life largely depend on that individual’s belief system which is the basis of one’s mindset which in turn influences how one views and interacts with the world (see In Visible Reach Mind Detox eBook).

In the past, positive thinking may have been considered as “fluff” belonging in a quack’s bag, but fortunately, it has gained positive momentum in recent years. I enjoy reading some of the scientific findings regarding this topic and if it interests you as well, you might enjoy looking up the rather interesting experiment conducted by Carla Berg, Rick Snyder, and Nancy Hamilton (2008) where they used guided imagery in what they termed a “hope induction.” In another research (Park, Peterson, & Seligman 2004; Peterson, Seligman, & Vaillant, 1998), it was found that people who tend to be optimistic (positive thinking) are happier and healthier. Yet another research (Peterson, Bishop, et al., 2001; Peterson, Seligman, et al., 1998) shows that these types of people also seem to dodge “accidents.”

So, why did I say that I was a “Hope Dealer” in the title? Other than the fact that it’s such a great play on words, the reason is because I do consider myself somewhat of a hope dealer, but with a twist (positive thinking) and an added ingredient (action). Hope can be very powerful when combined with understanding and action objectives, for we are the ones in charge of our lives. With a healthy mindset, a clear perspective, and an action plan, hope can go a long and fruitful way and yield incredible results.

Note: this blog was re-written on January 3, 2019.

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