Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hope and Achievement

What then do I do with temporal hope?

If hope is a desire or cherished dream, something we anticipate or expect to happen, how do I make hope something more than just a wispy thing that I cling to when I feel bad about my situation or my life?  How, like the alchemists of old, do I transmute that hope into something of actual value?

I face and address the reality that hope without action is simply nothing more than a dream.

Hope can be a grand thing. It can be the initiator of any number of great actions.  It can drive us to greater efforts than we thought were possible.  Hope keeps us up late at night or early in the morning when we would rather be sleeping; it drives us to try on more time to make that contact or initiate that conversation or simply send that resume.  Hope helps us to see the great things that can be possible in our lives.

But hope is not the same as achievement. 

Achievement is that less glamorous word, the word that reeks of hard labor and sweat and disappointment and being thrown back time and time again.  It is the thing that makes all other things possible - without achievement, there is nothing else. It's the word that expresses the concept of Henry Ford:  "Opportunity is missed by most people because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work".

Hope drives achievement as fuel drives an engine.  I work to achieve many things; without the hope that there is some greater purpose or desire being gained, my achievement merely becomes a dull grind of things I have to do.

Can achievement bring the certainty that hope implies?  It depends on what you mean by certainty. Certainly there is always an element of chance, of things not working out.  But in reality, if work and achievement don't make hope more certain, they certainly increase the chances the chances that one's hopes will become achieved - as Samuel Goldwyn said, "The harder I work, the luckier I get."

So let us have hope and let us use hope, by all means.  But let us not make the mistake that hope alone will change our lives.  That expectation of hope can come, but only when it is undergirded by labor of achievement towards that hope.

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