Hope. You know, hope is in interesting word because it’s thrown around a lot. You hear it in sarcastic comments and common conversation, but you also hear it in deep and profound thoughts.
There’s the kind of hope that is just “there” because the word fit into the situation, like when you hope you’ll arrive at work on time, or that Dunkin Donuts hasn’t run out of sesame seed bagels this morning. You hope to others, saying out loud, “I hope I can see you again soon!” or “I hope you’re joking.” You hope to yourself, thinking, “I hope people like my outfit today” or “I hope I can get that blog post written in time.” All in all, you simply, casually, hope.
But then there’s the kind of hope that seems more philosophical, real, and memorable. There’s the hope for an end to global warming, or that everyone in the world will be happy. There’s the hope that things in your life will change (for the better), or that you will overcome a certain obstacle.
For this week’s Motivational Monday, I’ll cite the wise words of Martin Luther, whose immense historical significance and success are proof of the important fact that hope is everywhere, and that we must learn to embrace it and, concurrently, recognize its power.
Martin Luther says, “Everything thing that is done in the world is done by hope.”
When you stop and think about it, Martin Luther is right—hope is everywhere, even in the smallest of places. It is what gives us motivation, and without it, nothing would get done. Even in the smallest of tasks, if we don’t believe in its success or hope that we can complete it, it won’t happen. No task was ever completed without an unseen leap into the future and the unknown. When we hope, we accept the ever-swirling vortex of the unknown, trusting ourselves and our decision to propel us forwards, so that we may continue on with our lives.
No one sets out each day with the intention not to hope; hoping is simply a human quality that comes out naturally in its own. Where we can begin to see what Martin Luther is trying to convey comes in those times when you set out with a goal and a determined hope to meet that goal, or to take steps to meet it.
In true accordance with Mr. Luther’s saying, it doesn’t matter what scale that goal is on. It could be a goal to get up 10 minutes early so you can sit and enjoy a hot cup of coffee before the day starts, a goal to visit a soup kitchen for the day and help the homeless, or a goal to start world peace. What matters is that these goals are attached to hope. It is hope that is the extra piece, the missing part of the puzzle that, once solved, can bring about a better world. It is the backbone to committing to change, because it is an emotion that drives us further in our mindsets and encourages us to persevere for what we want.
Saying, “I hope” I get up 10 minutes earlier all of a sudden makes you want to get up early. Believing n your “hope” that life for the homeless can improve slowly pushes you to investigate ways that you could do that, leading you to drive even harder towards your goal, taking actions such as visiting a soup kitchen. “Hoping” for world peace makes you more conscious of your actions, and of ways you yourself can help instigate that cycle.
Even though your goal may seem too small to worry about, or too unworthy of the word “hope,” which traditionally is used in a very serious context, I’m ordering you, on Motivational Monday, to hope anyways. As Martin Luther reminds us, otherwise nothing will be accomplished. Our motivation will decrease, and we, in a sense, will be giving up.
It’s easy to fall into this trap, especially considering all of the hopeless situations we see in this world. Yet, take a look at how, often, the people who are suffering the most also have the most hope. More than anyone, someone who is suffering can tap into Martin Luther’s message that goals without hope are futile. This creates the most selfless people around. Some of the most genuine and positive people I have ever met have been those who are facing immense difficulties, in conditions that most people are shocked about. I have been treated the kindest by those who barely have enough for themselves, but who reach out to me.
How do they do it?, I wonder to myself. The one word answer? Hope. Constant hope. An awareness that without hope, goals are futile. If goals are futile, so is motivation. If motivation is futile, success will not happen.
To build a metaphor, I think of the future as a pool of shifting material. Without hope, it is a liquidy mass with no structure to hold it up. If one were to fall into a future like this, one would merely flail helplessly for a lifeline that didn’t exist. Yet when hope is added into the pool, a semi-solid structure begins to form. Your tippy-toes slowly touch a strong bottom, reaching a harder ground to support you as you work to succeed on your goals. You can now grasp at pieces of the future and bring them together because you have a heartbeat of hope underneath all of your struggles that never stops, constantly pumping a sense of motivation throughout you.
Granted, I never said maintaining hope was easy. In reality, it’s anything but. We look all around us and see a world full of struggles, conflict, inequality, judgment, and negativity. To try and combat that with just one small, four-letter word and its connotation seems pointless and incredibly difficult. But that hope is a key piece in starting change.
Martin Luther was able to see the potential for change through hope, as have many other visionaries. Today, I’ll call your attention to the wise words of Robert Kennedy, as he said,
“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
Hope on your part and hope on the part of others will all add to the swirling pool of the future that we are sitting in, and as that future solidifies, the hope we all contribute is the cause of success. It is the cause of a result. It is the “thing” that gets “done” which Martin Luther explains.
This week, try and maintain hope. Remember the words of Martin Luther: that everything is done with hope. Give yourself the best shot at success and hope for every little thing that comes your way. When you begin to doubt yourself, doubt the world, or doubt that “hope” actually does anything productive, challenge that. Hope. Hope. Hope. I think you’ll surprise yourself.
Make this a hopeful week, friends!