How many of you remember this scene from the movie City Slickers?
Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is?
Curly: This. [holds up one finger]
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean shit.
Mitch: But what is the “one thing?”
Curly: [smiles] That’s what you have to find out.
I have been reminded of that conversation frequently lately as I have watched people around me go through some amazingly difficult times at work. A major layoff hit their organization, and them personally. Watching them, I was struck by how some of them were able to more easily roll with the punches, while others, seemingly, were decimated by the events. Finally, one day, while working with one of my clients, it hit me. While I certainly agree with Curly’s assessment that we each have to find that one thing inside of us that ignites our passion, there is yet one other characteristic that is necessary for anyone to be successful; the one factor that, if absent, will complete eliminate the possibility of growth, change, and success. HOPE!
“Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope”
Take away hope and you completely take away a person’s motivation and strength. A person who feels their situation is hopeless and who sees no possibility that things can change and improve will simply give up. Human beings thrive on hope. We continually hope and dream of better circumstances. It is what drives us to take on new challenges, learn new skills, and attempt things that may seem impossible. The simple hope that we can accompish these things keeps us striving for more.
I am convinced that the greatest thing we can do for those around us is to cultivate hope. Focus your energies on what is possible, rather than what is not, and you will find a world of opportunity opening up. A good friend of mine likes to say “Do what you can, not what you can’t.” When the walls are crashing in around you and you are beginning to lose hope that you can dig your way out, “Do what you can…” and undoubtedly others will follow. It is unbelievable the strength that just this little amount of hope can bring to you and those around you.
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