When you think about all the reasons you cannot achieve many your life's ambitions, you are probably right. Take, for example, the idea that you want to be an actor. Like that's going to happen while you are raising those kids. Or the whole, "Spend the summer in Rome," thing. Where is the money for that coming from?
If you ever have doubts that your desires are unattainable, just ask your friends and family. They will back up your logic. It feels good to be right doesn't it?
But there is one dream that will come to pass. It's the one you believe in. It's the one you will not be denied, the one you will stop at nothing to accomplish. Unlike a wish or a fantasy, this image accompanies a positive assertion that, given the chance, you have the brains and ability to make it happen. And, if not given the chance, you will create it on your own. That's "hope."
Related: Meet Fear's Antidote: Hope
Hope gets excited. It sees things others can't see. What attempted accomplishment has ever been fulfilled without a chorus of negativism from onlookers? But who cares? What do they know? These are the same people that didn't believe the atom could be split or that everyone could have a computer in their pocket or that cheese could come out of a can.
One young man was lacking in mathematical skills as was evidenced by his high school record. Three years of Algebra 1. That's a kid that didn't need a career involving polynomial equations. Or counting change. One day he discovered the stock market. The bells, the whistles, the fun. It seemed pretty simple at first. Buy a stock for one price, sell it for another.
But soon he discovered more complex ways of making money faster and somehow forgot his weakness. Absorbed by the activities of buying calls and selling puts he routinely calculated complex formulas in his mind due to the sheer repetition required. Obsessed with graphs and charts, his conversation was peppered with references to intrinsic value, derivatives and Fibonacci ratios.
What happened to the kid that couldn't count to three? He got excited. He saw something in his future before he saw it in reality. He discovered ways of making it come to pass. That's what hope does. He converted $25,000 dollars into $500,000 in less than three years.
Hope is always going somewhere and takes the next step toward the goal even if the prize is a million miles away. It has a purpose and creates a strategy. Often it appears stealthy and quiet from without but rages with the force of Niagara from within.
In his fascinating Psychology Today article, "The Will and Ways of Hope," Scott Barry Kaufman explains that hope is the most powerful of all the psychological vehicles. It is not just an emotion but a "dynamic, cognitive, motivational system."
Hope is related to academic achievement above and beyond IQ and affects athletic outcomes more than training, self-esteem, confidence and mood. It has the ability to empower us far beyond mere optimism or self-efficacy. And why does it make such a drastic change for the better?
"People with hope have both the will and the pathways and strategies necessary to achieve their goals."
Related: Why You Can Never Give Up Hope
So it's time to get to work. What do you want so bad you can taste it? What are you most inspired to accomplish in spite of all the naysayers? As a criterion for success, it should stretch you beyond anything you have ever achieved yet not be so far out that no-one could do it. You could have your own horse farm, write a best seller or pay your way out of debt, but you're not going to fly off the roof on a winged bicycle you constructed in the garage and you're not getting the cheese back into the can.
What strategies can you imagine? Even the most remote possibilities are a great start. Over time you can refine them, brainstorm and strategize until more realistic pathways come into focus. Yes, there will be times when you feel stuck but all those who benefit from hope can tell you, with certainty, there is a way. And that's pretty hopeful.