Why the World Needs Hope
Most people are familiar with the myth of Pandora’s box as the tale the ancient Greeks devised to justify the existence of evil in the world. Disease and plagues were “gifts” that Pandora cast down. Zeus fashioned her to torment people and extract revenge on Prometheus, who gave mankind fire. However, how many of us can recall that in the tale, hope is imprisoned in a box and survives long after all other worldly evils have disappeared? Personally, I did not.
Philosophers still argue over the significance of that specificity today. Why did hope become stuck if it were the last of the evils? However, if hope is the antidote to corruption, perhaps it was protected by the Gods for us.
Even today, millennia later, we still disagree on the definition, function, and even the meaning of hope. The idea has persisted in posing problems across history and across disciplines. Do we benefit or suffer from hope? Is it a virtue or an illusion?
“Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future.” – Robert H. Schuller
As someone well-educated and skeptical, I have always found it challenging to take hope seriously. I often wonder what the point is in hoping for certain things to happen, especially when the outcome is uncertain. For example, hoping that my 18-year-old remembers to study hard for her college chemistry final will result in a great grade. Similarly, hoping the Earth’s temperatures will cool down will prevent rising sea levels.
However, when I learned that the University of Alberta and the HOPE Research and Impact Institute (HRII) are leading institutions in hope research, I became curious about hope’s potential benefits and whether it can be learned and cultivated. I discovered that we all possess hope, whether or not we are aware of it. Research has shown that hope can positively impact mental health and strongly predicts overall well-being. So, there are clear reasons why the world needs hope.
The actual act of being a human being depends on hope. And according to Dr. Judith Rich, a researcher in the field of transformation and consciousness, “hope is a match in a dark place.”
How Gandhi brought the power of hope to the world
For hundreds of years, economic inequality, financial illiteracy, social injustice, unequal access to finance, and a lack of respect have hampered opportunities and economic growth for underserved people throughout India. However, it was a challenge that Mahatma Gandhi felt compelled to take on.
Gandhi is a famous leader who inspired hope and change in India and worldwide. Gandhi was a lawyer, activist, and leader of the Indian independence movement who believed in the power of nonviolence and civil disobedience to bring about social change. Still, he also believed strongly in the power of hope.
Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence and civil disobedience was inspired by his deep belief in the inherent goodness of all people and his conviction that love and compassion could overcome even the most entrenched conflicts and injustices. He believed that people could resist oppression and injustice without resorting to violence, ultimately leading to a more peaceful and just world.
Only he can be a leader who never loses hope. — Ghandi
Gandhi’s philosophy was put into practice during India’s struggle for independence from British rule. Gandhi organized massive nonviolent and civil disobedience campaigns, including the Salt Satyagraha, in which he and thousands of others marched to the sea to collect salt in defiance of British laws. These campaigns sparked widespread protests and boycotts and helped to build support for the independence movement.
Gandhi’s efforts ultimately paid off, as India gained independence in 1947. However, Gandhi’s work did not end there. He continued to fight for justice and equality, both in India and around the world. He inspired people of all backgrounds to stand up for what they believed in and to work towards creating a more just and compassionate world.
Gandhi’s ideas and actions continue to influence individuals globally, even to this day. Gandhi believed that hope was essential for bringing about positive change and for inspiring people to take action. He believed that hope was a force that could help people overcome adversity and work towards creating a better world. His philosophy has influenced numerous social justice movements, and his message of compassion and hope continues to motivate people to strive for a better and more hopeful future for everyone.
One thing we can learn from Gandhi about the power of hope is that it is a powerful source of motivation and inspiration. Gandhi used hope as a way to galvanize people and inspire them to work towards creating a more just and equitable society. He believed that hope could help people overcome fear and doubt and could help them persevere even in the face of great challenges.
Another lesson we can learn from Gandhi about the power of hope is that it can be a unifying force. Gandhi believed that hope could bring people together and help them work towards a common goal. He used hope to unite people and inspire them to work towards creating a better world for all.
Overall, Gandhi’s example illustrates why the world needs hope, the transformative power of hope and how it can inspire and motivate people to work toward creating a better world.
What is the meaning of hope?
Depending on whom you ask, there are various definitions of hope. When individuals use the word “hope” in a spiritual context, they may signify having faith in a higher being and believing in the best. They could use prayer to focus their hopes on others.
For others, it might entail always seeing the positive side of things and viewing obstacles as opportunities to grow. In other words, “hoping for the best” at all times.
Martin Luther King Jr. said, “We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.”
Hope could also be the desire for a result that improves your life in some way. It not only can make a difficult situation bearable in the present, but it can also gradually improve.
Whatever the specifics, hope generally refers to a strong yearning for a better condition and the expectation that it will eventually come about.
Why is hope so important in life?
Hope is an integral part of every person’s life, whether we recognize it or not. As humans, we all have aspirations for a better future, and hope serves as the bridge that connects our past, present, and future. It allows us to envision and imagine a better future, which can bring feelings of positivity and optimism, even if it does not come to fruition.
Hope is a component of the self-narrative about our life that we all have running through our brains, and it helps us determine what we want in the future. Hope can spur you on to take the necessary action if it’s something you can influence, like the children fighting to escape poverty.
Hope is a powerful emotion that can have a profound impact on an individual’s life, as well as the world at large. It can inspire people to persevere through difficult times, to pursue their dreams and goals, and to have the strength and resilience to overcome challenges and setbacks.
According to American novelist Barbara Kingsolver, “The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.”
Why the world needs hope
In today’s world, there are many reasons why the world needs hope and is more important than ever.
First and foremost, hope motivates us to keep going, even when things seem impossible or insurmountable. When we have hope, we believe that better days are ahead and that we can make positive changes in our lives and in the world around us. This can give us the strength to keep fighting for what we believe in, and to never give up, even when the odds seem stacked against us.
For example, consider the countless individuals who have faced seemingly insurmountable challenges, such as illness, poverty, or discrimination, and yet have managed to overcome these obstacles through sheer force of will and a belief in a better future. Without hope, it is easy to become discouraged and lose sight of the things that truly matter. But with hope, we can see beyond our current circumstances and find the strength to keep going, no matter how difficult things may seem.
Secondly, hope inspires us to dream and imagine a better future. When we have hope, we can envision a more compassionate, just, and equitable world for all people. This can inspire us to take action and to work towards creating that future rather than simply accepting the status quo.
For example, consider the countless social justice movements that have emerged throughout history, all fueled by a belief in a better world and a desire to make a positive impact. Without hope, it is easy to become disillusioned and lose sight of the things that truly matter. But with hope, we can see beyond the limitations of the present and work towards creating a brighter, more hopeful future for all.
Finally, hope helps us to find meaning and purpose in life. When we have hope, we can see beyond our current circumstances and focus on the things that truly matter. This can give us the drive and motivation to pursue our passions and make a positive impact in the world.
For example, consider the countless individuals who have dedicated their lives to causes such as education, healthcare, or the environment, driven by a belief in a better world and a desire to make a difference. Without hope, it is easy to become disillusioned and lose sight of the things that truly matter. But with hope, we are able to see beyond our own needs and desires and work towards creating a brighter, more hopeful future for all.
Five Ways to Find Hope
Essentially, hope is needed in the world because it enables us to endure challenges, dream about possibilities, and strive to make a positive impact. Without hope, it can be easy to lose motivation and perspective on what truly matters. Therefore, let’s embrace hope and collaborate to build a more optimistic and hopeful future for everyone.
Here are five ways to find hope in your life:
Connect with others
Hope can give us a sense of connection and purpose beyond ourselves. Surrounding ourselves with supportive friends and family can help to lift our spirits and give us hope. Sharing our struggles and challenges with others can provide a sense of connection and belonging and help us see that we are not alone. This can help us find meaning and purpose in our relationships and in our contributions to society.
Focusing on the things we are grateful for can help shift our perspective and give us hope. Whether it’s the beauty of nature, the kindness of a stranger, or the simple pleasures in life, taking time to appreciate the good things can help to bring hope and joy into our lives. Additionally, hope can give us a sense of belonging to something greater than ourselves, giving our lives direction and significance.
We may overcome obstacles and failures with the resiliency that hope can provide. We are more inclined to persevere and keep going forward when we possess hope, even when things are difficult. This can help us find significance in the difficulties and obstacles we encounter and help us to advance personally.
Find purpose and meaning.
Hope can be a powerful source of motivation and can help us find meaning and purpose in life. We are more inclined to feel immersed in and interested in the world around us when we have hope, which can lead to a sense of fulfillment and purpose. Overall, hope can be a powerful source of inspiration and can help us find significance and passion in our lives. Whether pursuing a passion, helping others, or working towards a goal, having a sense of purpose can help us find hope and stay focused on what truly matters.
Taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally, and mentally can help to keep our spirits up and give us hope. This may include things like getting enough sleep, exercising, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in activities that bring us joy and relaxation. Seeking out professional help when needed can improve your overall well-being and bring hope.
By focusing on these areas and incorporating them into our daily lives, we can find hope and stay motivated to pursue our goals and dreams, even in the most difficult of times.
Conclusion — Hope is the most important thing in a chaotic world
In the words of former South African President Nelson Mandela, “Our human compassion binds us the one to the other — not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learned how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.”
The power of hope is immense. It motivates us to achieve the impossibly difficult and sustains us through challenging times. However, it is essential to note that hope alone is not enough. In order to create a brighter, more hopeful future, we must also take action and work towards creating positive change in the world. Although it may be comforting, hope is not a passive emotion. Instead, it’s incredibly inspiring. We feel energized when we can picture the future in which we want to participate. We are inspired to act to change things.
This requires perseverance, determination, and a willingness to take risks and challenge the status quo. But with hope as our guide, we can achieve great things and create a more compassionate, juster, and equitable world for all people.
So let’s embrace hope and work towards creating a better future for all. Together, we can make a difference and create a brighter, more hopeful, and more compassionate world.
Where to Go From Here
I hope you found this short guide on knowing when to quit useful. If you’re looking for more ideas on getting motivated and staying that way, check out the Passion Struck podcast and my episodes with behavior scientists Ayelet Fishbach, Katy Milkman, Astronaut Wendy Lawrence, NASCAR driver Jesse Iwuji, and Vice Admiral Sandy Stosz along with my over 80 solo episodes.
This article is based on an episode of Passion Struck with John R. Miles, one of the 50 most inspirational podcasts of 2022.
Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, or your favorite podcast platform.
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