In our 5-week exploration of psychological capital, today we are exploring the concept of HOPE.
“I hope I get this house. I hope I get this job/grant/project. I feel so hopeless. Hopefully it will work out.”
We use this word in so many different ways, but what is this psychological concept all about?
HOPE is defined by Charles Snyder as “perceived ability to walk certain paths leading to a desired destination”.
When we explore the “perceived ability” this is about our thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes to the situation that we are currently in, and the belief that I can achieve these three components of HOPE reported by Snyder as:
- You need to have focused thoughts
- You must develop strategies in advance in order to achieve these goals
- You have to be motivated to make the effort required to actually reach these goals
The more the individual believes they can achieve these components, the more they will develop the feeling of HOPE.
There have been many periods in my (Elizabeth) life when I felt hopeless. Like the time I was stuck in a job with a narcissistic boss and felt there was no way out. The time when all my future plans changed in an instant with a company reneging on their work contract 2 weeks before I was due to move countries to take up employment. And the time when I realised that the long-term marriage I was in, could no longer be part of my future.
All large, life-defining moments that I could either approach with HOPE or get caught up in the turmoil and energy of the situation.
In those moments in my past, I didn’t have the mental endurance that I have developed and trained myself in now. I didn’t have the understanding, or the incredible support of coaches that ask really good questions, to help guide me to the place I am now. So, I crumbled.
I have since learned that approaching life-changing situations CAN be met head-on with HOPE. Knowing and believing in yourself that you can be focussed on your future-oriented goals with purpose, passion and perseverance in whatever the current situation is. That you can develop those strategies that lead towards Massive Action to accomplish what you want to achieve, and that you can be constantly internally driven (not just enlisting whimsical motivation that dissipates when the going gets tough), but having the fortitude to keep going – regardless of what the feedback is, what people are saying, or what current results you may be experiencing.
To approach life with HOPE, as someone who experienced the horrific traumas of life in a concentration camp, Viktor Frankl inspires us with his words: Everything can be taken from a person but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
HOPE is a choice – it is packaged in many different ways, but begins with our thoughts about ourselves, our interpretations of the situations before us, and the response that we want to pursue.
Choose HOPE. Use your innate strengths, see challenges as opportunities, and bring through similar situations in the past that you have conquered, to strengthen and develop more HOPE
You’ve got this!