Reflection Friday: Can hope and realism exist together?

I haven't always been a dreamer but I also wasn't shy of exploring my imagination. But, I grew up seeing the dreamer turn their back on dreams as the grind and challenge of their reality beat away their hope. But, I also saw the dreamer who embraces the reality and despite the challenge, chooses hope and finds another way.

Does hope have to concede to reality when the evidence is stacked against it?Or is the purpose of hope to move us into action in spite of the circumstances?

We use the word hope so frequently in our language (especially in English) 

  • I hope it doesn't rain
  • I hope he pulls through
  • I hope he'll pass
  • I hope we'll win

I wonder if we use the word hope so often we've lost touch with the reality of what it is. Does hope have a 'When' you should use it or is it tied to 'What' you believe?

I like this definition of hope

Hope is a feeling of trust, a security, and a reason to keep going. It is a passionate desire of our heart. It is a feeling of expectation and a longing for a certain thing to happen. - Verity Russell

Hope is ultimately about something better. I believe it's born because of the realities around us and the future we want to see rather than in spite of it. The realities and future of wanting to end poverty, war, create legacy, spread love, motivate us to take that next step in life or even overcome death.

Some will say hope is the denial of reality. That's simply not true. Hope acknowledges the significant obstacles and has no room for delusion. It has to be clear and resolute for it to know its aim and purpose.

Martin Luthur Kings 'I have a dream' speech spoke of both opportunity and challenge inspired by hope. That balance of hope in reality brought millions together and broke a 400 year culture of segregation that many thought would not change. There are many other examples in world history.

Jerome Groopman in The Anatomy of Hope, Random House, 2004 writes

"There is an authentic biology of hope. ... Researchers are learning that a change in mind-set has the power to alter neurochemistry. Belief and expectation - the key elements of hope - can block pain by releasing the brain's endorphins and enkephalins, mimicking the effects of morphine. In some cases, hope can also have important effects on fundamental physiological processes like respiration, circulation, and motor function. During the course of an illness, then, hope can be imagined as a domino effect, a chain reaction in which each link makes improvement more likely. It changes us profoundly in spirit and in body."

 How powerful is that. The next time reality hits you in the face or your told it can't be done you have no reason to lose hope because that's not the point. Hope is there to draw out of you what you didn't expect and what you always had. 

The late Christopher Reeve once said "Once you choose hope, anything is possible" If you followed his journey you see he proved that.


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Jermaine Edwards

Founder of the Key Account Hack System - New Key Account thinking that transforms customer relationships and creates predictable sales growth.