Have you ever felt yourself drifting into a dark place with no outlet to escape? Have you ever told yourself that there is definitely a door nearby, because if you could come into it then there is no way that you can’t get out of it? This is HOPE.

For me, HOPE is an acronym for “Hold On, Problem Ending”. The lesson is simple. Hope is that faint light that flickers through the storms but nevertheless shows the way. Hope gives rise to patience, resilience, courage. Hope is what leads to peace.

The grim image of the world that we live in where everyone is trying to slaughter everyone else, where everyone is a part of the cutthroat competition; is tempting enough to drive us into a state of hopelessness. The important question that we need to ask ourselves is whether violence is leading us to hopelessness OR is hopelessness leading us to violence? Difficult indeed but very important. It is a vicious cycle – the one that never ends.

Another important question that we need to ask ourselves is where do we find hope? In happy places? In dark places? In noisy places? In solitude? To be honest, there is no one best answer to this question either. You may go to a happy place but end up feeling miserable because everyone else is happy. Contrary to this, you may go to a happy place that lifts up your spirit and find that happiness is contagious. You may go to a friend who is suffering from a loss and end up even sadder because sadness is contagious too. You may go to a friend who is sad and while trying to cheer them up, you somehow find a solution to your own problem. The difference lies in the perception.

What you choose to see is more important than what is. The objective reality of the world is not known to anyone and the subjective reality of the world differs from individual to individual. So, when you go to a happy place and meet people who are more successful than you are, you are looking at yourself as an underachiever. But if you go to the same place and look at everyone as successful people who have made the world a better place or whom you can turn to for inspiration, you look at yourself as someone who has the potential to achieve everything that they have achieved and more.

Last but not the least, is a question that has long been asked. Is hope inborn or can it be learnt? The answer is, “I don’t know”. But what I know is that our genes may limit our potential but our environment is a mightier force. It provides us with opportunities that we need to take. Your brain is the mightiest force. If you can think of it, you can do it. The moment you start contemplating an event, your brain has already paved the way for you. There is nothing that you can’t train your mind to do.

Write down your negative thoughts, your fears, your insecurities, every time they flash across your mind. And as soon as you write them down, replace them with a positive affirmation. At the end of the day, write a gratitude note (It can be anything – gratitude for this opportunity to be with your family, for the ability to be aware of your negative thoughts, etc). Practice this for 21 days, religiously. You will know how easy it is to find HOPE.

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