5 Simple Ways a Hopeful Attitude Will IMPROVE Your Life
Some people think hope is useless. I once heard a multimillionaire life coach say that hope is a waste of time and energy because it doesn’t make anything happen. Wrong. Now, I don’t expect a secular mindset to believe in the strength of hope. Still, I point out the error because there is a difference between wishing and hoping.
To wish is to express desire.
To hope is to desire with expectation.
Expectation is the key word here because it signifies the hopeful person’s posture: they believe their hopes will be fulfilled. The hopeful person does not whisper into the wind and forget with a penny toss, the hopeful person actively waits for their desire to come about.
An expressed wish is let go as quickly as it is spoken but an expectation is motivation to wait and/or act. Waiting, trusting, expecting are behaviors that must follow a hope otherwise, what you’ve got is just a wish. To expect will involve preparation, just the way a family prepares when they are expecting a baby. (WordPress Friends–I am expecting baby #2 very soon! Oh yeah, if you didn’t know I got married!)
Because of the behavioral aspect, I like to think of hope as a choice to action just like love and faith. These are “forces” because they are powerful actions that require decisiveness and effort and they always bring results.
Make Hope Your Secret Weapon
Reliance on God
Spiritual hope is strong. In a devotional on hope, the author brought up the phrase “prisoner of hope” as found in Zechariah 9. I hadn’t met this term before. However, as soon as I read it I knew what it felt like. Being a prisoner of hope, being bound by hope, means no matter how much you try to discourage yourself with “facts” and reality, you can’t get rid of that glimmer of optimism. It’s how light works.
A prison of hopelessness looks dark and impatient causing impulsive decisions, “settling,” and distrust in God’s plan. Retreating to true hope in Christ compels one to wait on the Lord and see what ways He makes. When you’re convicted to remain faithful, you seek the Lord patiently. Patience is a virtue and a fruit of the spirit that helps us to rely directly on God’s provision and ultimately, make less of our own mistakes along the way.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.Hebrews 10:23
greater Physical wellbeing
Healthy mindsets are correlated with healthy lifestyle habits and healthy physical status. Surprise! Hope is a part of a healthy mindset and it is much more than a dreamy optimism. Hope causes optimism and is also the effect of optimism. A beautiful feedback loop is created where hope fulfilled fuels hope for the future and hope for the future spurs healthy actions.
Check out this study concluding that for older adults, a vulnerable population, having a greater sense of Hope was associated with better physical health, behaviors, mental wellbeing, and social life.
People INVEST in the hopeful
There’s an insidious logic that convinces people victimhood is rewarding, some believe that being a victim might draw out the savior complex in others. Generally speaking it’s just not the case with human behavior, unfortunately–this is why violent crimes can happen in front of witnesses who do nothing but stand by. A depressing reality…right?
If you are not a victim, there is little to no use in positioning yourself as a hopeless person. As we saw above, it depresses others both by causing them to inaction and also by causing them to pity. Pity is not typically advantageous. There is a better way!
People pity the hopeless and invest in the hopeful.
If you’ve ever studied entrepreneurs or successful underdogs you can see the pattern of a hopeful spirit: it inspires other people to invest. Sharing your hope with others will attract their help/partnership, it will influence them to hope in their own lives, it will increase positive thinking and acting. Not to mention, outward hopefulness is a testament to the effect of the Gospel.
Hope will push you out of your comfort zone
People are braver when they are hopeful. Again, think back to that “expectation” signifier. A hopeful person makes courageous decisions because they are awaiting a good outcome. On the contrary, a hopeless person who is expecting a bad outcome is going to act out of fear and avoid what may seem uncomfortable or risky.
With hope comes the courage to believe that there is more than a dreary ending and with that, comes bravery to move toward your heart’s desire. A hopeful person who is expecting to find new friends and start a good friendship is likely to spark conversation among others. A hopeless person who wants new friends but is expecting loneliness is likely to stay within their shell around others.
Builds delayed gratification
Of course, hope requires patience otherwise it would not be hope. Persevering in your belief through time, struggle and discouragement builds a strong hope muscle. The longer you have to hold onto hope, the stronger the hope proves itself to be. During an extended season of waiting and expecting, hope becomes what a person depends on rather than the satisfaction of attaining of that hoped-for object.
Delayed gratification is associated with higher rates of success because it is a character strength that gives a person a level head, a resilient motivation, and a desire to stay faithful to a purpose.
It’s easy to toss hope into the wish bucket and forget about believing the unbelievable (according to self-titled realists). However, with true hope you find yourself feeling lighter, moving towards progress and developing good character. Attitude affects behavior and behavior affects results. Keep it hopeful!