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Hope: Against all odds

Aldina Braganza

One of the most beautiful things about life is that it is constantly changing. There is no permanency to it. And so the famous zen proverb –  life is change, change is stability.

You never get the wisdom of wise sayings unless you are going through some challenge or you decide to challenge yourself. Nevertheless like a bulb that goes on inside you, you begin to understand the words of wisdom bestowed to humanity by mystics, philosophers and more recently human sciences.

And so I learned a thing or two about change. The crucial ingredient of dealing with change is hope.

Change is what most of us find challenging. There is a comfort in permanence. However, it’s what we think about when change is happening that makes all the difference to its outcome. Not knowing what to expect in itself is challenging.

It is a known fact that the way we perceive a challenge will determine the outcome of that situation.

If you have watched the film ‘Three Idiots’, I am sure you will definitely remember Amir khan drumming his chest, strategically above his heart and repeating the mantra ‘All is well, all is well’.

Well, that particular dialogue comes from a much researched understanding of hope. It allows you to hold on to a buoyant that will help you stay afloat and ride that particular choppy water till the water gains stability once again.

Hope is a powerful ingredient and can no longer be treated casually. So if you are one of those matter of fact kind of people, learn to introduce a bit of hopefulness in your life.

You see nothing stays constant, life is always changing, but your reactions to the problem will decide if you are going to make through it or break with it.

When you have hope, you also trigger in you a complete cognitive motivational system that redirects how your thoughts work. The thoughts in turn influence our emotions. According to research efforts of Snyder and colleagues, this is how we set learning goals. When you define such goals, you have got your body to follow suit towards your desired outcome. With hope on your side, you will go against all odds to stay on track with what you want, propelling you closer to your destination

Hope is no longer considered a hocus pocus placebo that makes you feel good. Hope is a serious contender in your overall functioning. In fact it is predictive in the outcome of goals.

When goals are designed without hope also known as performance goals, individuals will take on tasks that are not challenging but easy and even if they do, then they will give up easily and act helpless.

Psychologists have designed scales that can measure hope as a stable trait or as situational outcomes. These were administered on college students to study how performance would differ with and without hope.

What was interesting about this research was that hope was a better predictor of midterm results than intelligent scores, previous grades and personality traits.

Situational hope is triggered by interventions such as a powerful motivational speech or exposure to examples of other people who have conquered similar hurdles. Sometimes you need to hear these words. All is going to go well. Nothing is permanent in life and things will change in your favour shortly. Or my favourite – the universe has my back.

Understanding hope is also about trying to understand the greater questions about life which is not always tangible.

What gives us hope? This crucial question can only be answered when you have asked the most important question about life itself. What is your purpose of being born?

As evident, you begin to realise that human behaviour is intricately designed to evolve. When you begin to ask these questions you tread into your spiritual quest of understanding your soul energy.

Hope is that which make you understand that you need to trust. For me any form of belief had to be quantifiable. I solely believed in cause and effect. It didn’t fit in my world when things didn’t make sense to me. I didn’t see hope as quantifiable until I began seeing things from the back to the beginning. I found it interesting how life unfolds.

I share my stories because I know experience matters. My experience taught me that not all answers are quantifiable. In the end human begins also are about trust, belief and hope. I have heard other stories too. Stories that juxtapose with mine, making understanding more meaningful for me.

I am learning to trust more in my belief that it is happening for my greater good. That obstacles I think are obstacles are truly life clearing its way for greatness to happen in my life. When I began to experience this, I finally got it.

Now when I face a challenge I know that it is life clearing its way for greatness in my life. I have my own mantra – The universe has my back. All is well and this too shall pass.

You could have your own too or borrow mine.

(Writer is a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist and the HOD of psychology at Carmel College for Women)


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