Hope is a human condition

Much has been written about our optimism bias (or delusions as one might call it) and how important it actually is in our physological well-being. I put hope in a similar bucket; it’s our important human condition.

In Russian, we have a saying “hope dies last”. I think it does (or it should). When we go through our daily life, hope actually plays quite a big role if you think about it, from mundane to cruical. We hope it’s not gonna rain; we hope our sports team will win; we hope we’ll get a promotion if we’ve put in the work; we hope there is someone special for us; we hope we’ll get the support from family and friends whenever we need it. We hope for the best (and some might simultaneously be ready for the worst, but that’s a different story), and it’s often that hope that carries us through the trials and tribulations of living.

And so it is when the hope for the better dims, is when the going gets tough. When all you see is downside, and the other side of the tunnel is so far. Imagine an athlete, who doesn’t hope she can win; she might as well quit. Viktor Frankl in his book “Man’s search for meaning” said that lost hope, after surviving in a concentration camp, was the most difficult obstacle to overcome. It’s no wonder Dante’s version of hell had “Abandon all hope ye who enter here” inscribed on it. My interpretation of it, is that living without hope is indeed hell; and we all have our personalized versions of it, depending what it is that we are hoping for.

Which also means that hope is a solution. As long as it’s alive, we can do something about our circumstances, whatever they may be. So we need to nurture hope; never let it die completely, and always find the spark of something to hold on to. Hope for the best; not in delusion, but in awareness.

One of my favourite quotes says “It’s going to be good in the end. If it’s not good, it’s not the end!”

Good to remind it ourselves from time to time.