September 3 – The power of hope.

September 3. “When there is no hope in the future there is no power in the present.” (John Maxwell)

In my life I have faced many difficult challenges. I have found myself feeling sad, angry, frustrated, depressed and scared. I have been paralyzed with fear and found it hard to take action at times. Other times I have wanted to hide from the world, with the covers over my head, hoping the world around me would magically get better. But of all the things I have felt in my life, the most dangerous feeling I have had was hopelessness.

Hope is the belief that things will get better, that the future is indeed brighter than the present. It is the knowledge that the difficulties of today will not last forever, and that the light at the end of the tunnel is not an onrushing train.

I think that Maxwell hits the nail on the head with this quote. As long as there is hope, then the actions of today truly matter. If I have hope for a better tomorrow, then I will make the right choices today to help bring about that brighter future. But, if I lose hope, if I come to believe that I am doomed to a future of misery, then it no longer matters what I do today, and all the power goes out of my actions and decisions. Hopelessness leads to despair, and despair leads to desperate actions. If I truly have no hope, then the consequences of my actions today will be insignificant in my mind, and it won’t matter what I do.

I truly believe that a lot of the problems that we face in our world are centered around hopelessness. People who do not believe in a future filled with hope very often will take actions with dire consequences, because those consequences simply don’t matter to them. Of all the things that I can give to another person – my time, my money, my donations – I really believe that the most powerful is hope. When I help another person see that there is a reason to believe that their future can be brighter, then I help give them the power to make good choices today, and to take actions to help bring about that future.

For me, hopelessness leads to staring out the window and wishing. It leads to inaction, and that inaction helps make my belief that there is no hope for improvement to come true. Hopelessness is a self-fulfilling prophecy of doom. But, if I have hope, then I am motivated to action. When I believe in a brighter future, then I will take the actions today to make that future a reality. Hope breeds success, and is a virtuously self-fulfilling prophecy.

Today my reflection is on hope. In my own life I see abundant reason to believe that my future is bright and improving. But, I come across people all the time whose hope has waned. Today I am reflecting on how I can help those people see that the glimmer is there, and to help encourage them to fan that flame so they too will believe, and will take power in the present.

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