Your hope and your future depend on your intentional effort. I'm not talking about struggling to keep up appearances, or working to put your game face on. I'm talking about making a demand on your heart and mind to see yourself in a better future. I don't know exactly how, but I will laugh again, I will live again, I will love again!
So, let me ask you a question. Why do we choose to stand on the mountaintop when the reality is, growth occurs during the storms of the valley?
Here's my perspective. People can see you easier on the mountaintop. So it fits the nomenclature of a narcissistic society that says," I'm the focal point, I'm the spotlight. It's all about me."
Where are all the selfies taken anyway? On the mountaintop. "Here I am, man!" Nobody takes a picture in the valley. They don't want to remember the valley. There's not anything to share with people. Just remember, your greatest growth is in the place you least want to be. I found hope where I least expected to discover it.
Circumstances don't leave you the way they found you. Just ask yourself one simple question. Where have you grown the most as a person – the valley, or the mountaintop? You can't have growth without hope. Take inventory of those perceived "hopeless" days. You'll be surprised what you may find.
Embracing a future and a hope takes work. You have to realize that maybe, just maybe, there is a potential to change the course of your life by allowing yourself to believe – believe your experiences have the capacity to shape you for the better.
When I look at the greatest times in my life, they've always come on the heels of despair. A bright future is predicated on the lessons we learn and the deliberate choices we make during times of struggle. Your future isn't established on the mountain top, on a clear day, as you write your grand plans in your leather-bound journal. (That's a great exercise though. Go for it.) Your future is established when you've run out of options.
That famous poet and former boxing champion, Mike Tyson, said it best: "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." But that's when you can make a choice. So, my advice, if you're gonna dream big, dream big! Former president Woodrow Wilson said, "We grow great by dreams." Resist the temptation to cheapen your dreams with imitations of the real thing.
Ask a hundred people, "Have you ever imagined a better life?" I bet most would say yes! But I believe many equate their answer with, "Well, maybe I'll win the lottery, or maybe something good might happen."
Hope is not an emotion. Hope is not a feeling. Hope is not a wish. Hope is a dynamic, transformative, life-changing quality. Hope is not temporal or transient. It is inside us. Always. Hope is not awarded based on who you are or what you do. Hope has no class status or social position. Some of the most hopeful people I have ever met are in jails. Conversely, I have met "free" people who have built self-constructed bars between them and life.
Please understand, hope is who we are. We are created with the capacity to hope. It is available to you right now.