Noun: A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
Verb: Want something to happen or to be the case: “he’s hoping for compensation”; “I hope that the kids are OK”.
Psychologists argue about when people begin to feel hope. Some say that hope is activated under dire circumstances when people do not believe that things will turn out in their favor. In this scenario, hope replaces feelings of fear and despair with a belief in a better future. Other psychologists argue that hope is activated when someone has a goal in their mind, and is determined to reach that goal. People who cultivate goal-based hope also believe in a better future.
In the book, The Psychology of Hope: You Can Get Here from There, Dr. Charles D. Snyder discusses theories he developed on hope. Dr. Snyder says, “Hope is the sum of the mental willpower and waypower that you have for your goals.” This definition is supported with three underlying concepts:
- Goals: “Goals are objects, experiences, or outcomes that we imagine and desire in our minds…the goals involving hope fall somewhere between an impossibility and a sure thing.”
- Willpower: “Willpower is the driving force in hopeful thinking.” Dr. Snyder continues to explain that willpower is enhanced by an individual’s perception of their desired goal. The better they understand the goal, the stronger the willpower.
- Waypower: “Waypower reflects the mental plans or road maps that guide hopeful thought.” Think of waypower as being the GPS for your goals. The goal is the destination, and the willpower is the engine and energy used to obtain the goals, but waypower is the route you take to achieve your goals.
Hope is one of the few tools we have available to us in today’s uncertain world. We may not have the power to change society as a whole, but we can each do our part by making changes in ourselves and by acting as an example to your community and the people in your life.
If you are looking for an uplifting story about hope, read Mr. Breeze! It is available at www.Amazon.com and www.BarnesAndNoble.com. A Kindle edition is also available through Amazon. Get your copy now so you can read it before the sequel is released in February 2013!