This is the 34th in a series of posts in which I share thoughts on a book that has inspired me over the years.
I spent much of the past several weeks with my 93-year-old Mom, who’d suffered a catastrophic stroke. So I thought a lot about what Kubler-Ross and others had to say about death and dying. I was especially taken with what she wrote about hope.
In the hospital, Mom’s caregivers gave us hope that with rehabilitation she might be able to resume at least some semblance of her previously very active life.
In hospice, Mom’s caregivers gave us hope that her final days would be comfortable and pain-free.
Here’s what I know about hope…
Hope is not the same as optimism. If I tell you I’m optimistic world peace is right around the corner, you could ask me to justify that optimism. But if I tell you I hope world peace is right around the corner, I don’t need to explain myself. I can just hope.
Hopelessness leads to helplessness. When you have hope, there’s always something you can do.
There’s no such thing as false hope (but without hope, there is genuine despair).
Hope might not be a strategy, but without hope even the most brilliant strategy is doomed to failure. Therefore, nurturing Hope can be the most important leadership strategy.
Hope is most important when things seem most hopeless.
Hope is not denying the reality of current difficulties. It’s having faith that things will work out even if you have no idea how that can happen. Hope is replacing rose-colored glasses with rose-colored binoculars.
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
– Emily Dickinson