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Article -> Certainty and Uncertainty Surrounding Hope

Date Added: August 2017

Writer Vaclev Havel wrote about hope. “It (hope) is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out.”

Havel was also a philosopher so one can see the depth of his quote. Hope is “the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out.” How often do we hope for something – a job, business deal, improved health, pay increase, weight loss – and our hope relates more closely to “the conviction that something will turn out well;” only to be disappointed by the outcome?

Interestingly, the dictionary defines hope as the expectation or desire for a certain thing to happen. Havel agrees something will happen; although he believes it doesn’t matter as much whether something turns out good or bad; rather it makes sense.

There are three additional definitions of hope which may help or add to the confusion. First, hope keeps us focused on our vision and strategy – our future. Hope is when planning ends and action begins. Second, hope is being properly anchored – sure and steady – during emotional, unstable and confusing times. Third, hope is confidently being secure among chaos.

A theme among virtually all definitions is having a belief in something to help remain anchored in whatever belief we have during difficult times. This is hope. When our lives are not chaotic and/or things are going well, we hope less because we are happy how our lives or work situations are.

We request hope in these situations during difficult times with co-workers, leaders, peers, family, friends, etc. A mistake we make is thinking the result will turn out the way we want it to vs. a way we may not like, but probably makes sense on some level (as Havel stated).

In May, a friend, former employee and individual I mentored died unexpectedly at the age of 30. She died eight days before her 1-year anniversary, leaving her husband, two step-daughters, family, friends, and me without much hope. In the few days while in ICU when everyone was hoping (praying) for a miracle, none of us followed Havel’s quote as we all wanted things to turn out well.

While words cannot express what others felt and may continue to feel, I rationalized what Havel meant by hope. On one level, her death doesn’t make any sense. Too young and leaving a new husband and two young children. On Havel’s level and the place I finally discerned was that God needed the best person He knew of to spread more love, kindness and caring to others in Heaven. While I don’t like that she’s no longer on earth, this is my view of hope in terms of how I make sense of a terrible situation.

My example in intended to help you reflect on your life at work, home, personally, and via your community relationships. Where is hope in your life? Is hope causing you to be pulled away from others instead of toward them? Who in your life exemplifies hope right now and why? In what ways can you cultivate hope in your life?

Hope requires deep, reflective thinking for us to positively influence the lives of others. As Andy Dufrense said in “Shawshank Redemption,” “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” Be mindful of hope and trust the outcome.

David Yeghiaian is committed to inspiring others through faith and leadership. Reach him at david@unique-solutionsinc.com.

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