Hope is a Winning Strategy

by | Jun 23, 2020 | Life Lessons

How are you doing? I hope you’re well. And, I hope you’re hopeful. 

“The hopeful person…believes specifically in his or her own capability for securing a successful and fulfilling future.” ~ Utpal Dholaki

When I’m asked about how I feel about the current state of affairs – first about the pandemic and then the protests against racism and social injustice – I’ve often responded by saying, I’m saddened, but hopeful. Then I started reflecting on what it means to have hope. The word hope has actually gotten a bad rap. We’ve all heard the saying, “Hope is not a strategy.” And if you ask some people what hope means to them, they might say it is a powerless emotion that places the future out of a person’s control, something like wishful thinking. I agree, but only partially. The future is out of our control. That’s true. I agree with that. We can do our best to predict what the future will be, prepare for the future as best we can, but none of us controls the future. What I disagree with is the characterization of hope as a powerless emotion.

Hope is a winning strategy.

The late psychologist and professor, Charles R. Snyder, studied hope. As a clinical psychologist specializing in positive psychology, Snyder defined hope as “the perceived capability to derive pathways to desired goals, and motivate oneself via agency thinking to use those pathways.” In other words, hope is goal-directed thinking fueled by personal agency and a capacity to figure out different ways to accomplishing the goal. With hope, a person has the underlying belief in their self and motivation to bring about the change they desire. Citing Snyder’s research, Professor Utpal Dholaki of Rice University in Houston, Texas, said it this way: “The hopeful person…believes specifically in his or her own capability for securing a successful and fulfilling future.”

Hope is far from a powerless emotion. With hope, you move in the direction of the future you desire. With hope, you accept that the future is largely unknown and not capable of being controlled. With hope, you believe in your ability to figure out the right paths to get a successful outcome. With hope, you can bring about change.

The next time someone asks how you’re doing, consider responding, “I’m hopeful.” Whether they understand it fully or not, now you know that being hopeful is a powerful and winning strategy.

Quotes about hope:

“Hope is a waking dream.” ~ Aristotle


“Hope is a passion for the possible.” ~ Søren Kierkegaard


“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” ~ Nelson Mandela

For more, click here to view my motivational quotes video on Hope and Optimism.

If you enjoyed reading this article, check out more like this by going to my website, YourAha!Life. In addition to my blog, you’ll find my latest podcast and additional resources to support your personal development. Subscribe to my monthly newsletter and join my private Facebook group, The Aha! Community.


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