“The worst thing that can happen in a democracy – as well as in an individual’s life – is to become cynical about the future and lose hope.” — Hillary Clinton
The access to news has become easier than ever before. Not only are there tons of physical newspapers and news stations but there are dozens of websites to choose from that have coverage on any topic we want. It’s great that the access is so widespread but the content tends to revolve around violence and other negative themes.
With constant updates of negative news, we tend to internalize this information and it turns into a negative and cynical perception about others and the world around us. Negative news gets attention, and our brains are hardwired to detect it. As Rick Hanson says, “The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones.” This hardwiring has helped us survive as a species and keeps us from danger.
Unfortunately, it also makes it easier to lose hope. Sometimes we lose hope about the world around us, and even about ourselves. We deny our fears and feel powerless, so we keep to ourselves to try and avoid the potential pain in the future. It is easier to be skeptical and hopeless than to have hope. Having hope is hard. Being skeptical and doubtful is easy.
On the other hand, having hope sounds like a much better alternative. Having hope and moving forward into the unknown is scary, but it is where we grow. Think about it, growth comes from times when there is a lack of certainty, or when we are struggling with a problem. Having hope during tough times is challenging, but that is also when it is more essential than ever before.
So how do we have hope? We dedicate ourselves to the change we want to see. We make small incremental changes. As Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Think about your past achievements where you made incredible changes and made it through adversity, becoming better than you ever were before. Similarly, think about the world. There are plenty of challenges as well as a lot of progress. Thousands of organizations across the world are dedicated to working on world peace and environmental preservation. Science is constantly making progress in ways that our ancestors would have never imagined. Ideas first thought of as science fiction have now become a reality. Our world still has a long way to go, but we have also made incredible progress and that is something worth recognizing.
Instead of being cynical and doubtful of yourself and the world, be hopeful. After all, what do you have to lose? Imagine what is possible. Do your part to help make it happen. As Nelson Mandela said, ‘It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Do what seems impossible. Do it for your loved ones. Do it for your children, and for the future generations that deserve to live on this earth just like we have. When we all come together, our potential is truly limitless. Remember: Hope is something you can choose to have, so I hope you choose wisely and grow from it.
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