“Will you be able to follow through?”
“I hope so.”
“Will I get the shipment on time?”
“Are you going to get that job?”
“That’s what I’m hoping for.”
So often, we are stuck counting on someone else to put their best foot forward, and we are left hoping they can accomplish the goal. If you look at the questions above, each answer tells you nothing about the likelihood of achieving any particular outcome. When you tell someone you’re hoping, you’re not offering a plan, an expectation, or even your personal conviction. What you’re doing is giving yourself the message that it’s out of your hands, and you have to accept whatever comes your way.
Here’s why you can do better without hope:
1. Hope is the big neutral.
Even with a big dream that seems daunting for a single individual to impact (like peace on earth), you can do more than just hope. Don’t hope; set an intention. When I teach a yoga class, I start each practice by guiding students to set an intention. The idea is that we are dedicating the energy and effort of the practice toward a particular outcome. Big or small, it takes you one full actionable step beyond hope.
2. When you stop hoping, you can start doing.
A friend of mine from the South has a saying that always makes me smile. When she’s ready to go but waiting on someone else, she says, “I’m sittin’ on green and ready to go!” Hope is like sitting on green and… just waiting. When you’re only hoping for an outcome, you are not moving any closer to the goal. You’re telling yourself that what you want is out of your control, and that there’s nothing you can do about it. You have to decide if your goal is worth some exertion. Even if the answer is “no,” you can take action by dropping it. If the answer is “yes,” you can take an action toward making it real.
3. Hoping stunts your growth.
We grow through challenge, pressure, making mistakes and starting again. Hope is a comfort zone that doesn’t include any of these. Each time we take action, even if it turns out to be in the wrong direction, we grow beyond who we were yesterday. Nature doesn’t let anything stand still. If it’s not moving, atrophy and degeneration sets in. Swap out hope for responsibility, and you continue to progress as an individual.
4. Eliminating hope from your verbiage will boost your self esteem.
You cannot build confidence without achievement. Nothing feels better physically, emotionally or spiritually than making a commitment, having conviction and taking charge of your destiny. Telling yourself you are going to do whatever it takes feeds you a totally different energy than telling yourself you’re hoping. When you take control of attaining what you want, even if you fall short of the final objective, you amplify your sense of personal power.
What is one hope that you can turn into an intention today?