Keeping Hope Alive

Jimmy had been travelling on the rail tracks for a while, it was pitch dark and dead silent and he was finding it rather difficult securing his footing. The tunnel was pretty narrow, which was not helping the feeling of claustrophobia slowly creeping up on him, he was sure if he spread his arms they would touch the two sides of the wet smelly tunnel walls, but why increase his unease he thought to himself. His only comfort lay in the words he always heard from momma and the bald pastor that shouts a lot, it says “there is light at the end of the tunnel” and Jimmy believed this tunnel would be no different from any other. As if in answer to his reminiscing, he spots it just ahead, like a single dot of star in the vast and empty night sky, but he is sure of it, it is a spot of light ahead of him. He feels a burst of energy go through him like a thousand volts of electricity, and his faltering steps transform into a determined jog, as he heads towards the welcome light. His exhilaration heightens as the spot grows into a ball of light and the hope of success gets nearer. Just as his anticipation was about to turn his jog into a full run, he feels the vibration, and grinding to a full stop, he tried to comprehend what his senses was trying desperately to communicate to him. At the same time the vibration turned into an earthquake-like shuddering, the spot of light turned into a blinding sun, and the silence was shattered by the blaring horn.  Jimmy stood transfixed in horror as he realised that his spot of light was the headlamp of an on-coming train…

In the previous post we made a vital connection between hope and success, establishing that because the road to success is usually wrought with obstacles and challenges, it is the hope, that we can still secure the quite elusive success that keeps us pressing forward. It would have been a little easier, if our success journey was as simple as once we have a desire and work on it, we become successful. The truth is that more often than not, our success journey, especially the ones that end up making ‘Headlines’,  read like Jimmy’s horrendous story, one written by a mischievous author. The truth is that for every one success we record, we go through thousands of hours of preparations, and most of the times, myriad of failures. Therefore, for us to succeed in this kind of terrain, like all successful people before us, we must keep hope alive in our own story.

 I have a few pointers that could help you along:

Be optimistic: People that are hopeful are optimistic people. I once heard someone say that if you will live a life of success, you must believe that the world is always secretly plotting to do you good. Optimism is 50% success while pessimism is 50% failure. Optimism is not about your condition, but about how you see it. Winston Churchill best buttressed this point when he explained that “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity while an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”  Learn to consciously think good thoughts about your situation, and believe you will make it. Being optimistic is different from living in a fool’s paradise, or being unrealistic. Being optimistic is having a positive attitude towards your situation and future outcomes; it does not mean you forsake every kind of reasoning or hard work

Believe in yourself: The phrase “I can’t” should be eliminated from your vocabulary. The reason we cannot do a lot of what we desire is because we don’t believe we can.  J.M. Barrier in ‘peter pan’ says and I quote, “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.”  Believe in yourself, believe you are the man for the job, believe you can always deliver, and then work on yourself to live up to the expectation you have yourself.

Seek out the right environment: There is hope inducing environment and hope sapping environment. Imagine you are a football player and you are told to play a championship game in a stadium without fans or cheer leaders? No one to cheer, scream at your near misses and celebrate your goals. You’ll be ready to quit after 20 minutes of play. Always look for an environment that encourages your efforts and surround yourself with people that believe in you and believe that you can make it. Quit any job or friendship that makes you feel small and incompetent without hope of improvement. Every one that corrects you must offer help of progress or point you towards upgrading yourself. Correction gives hope, oppression takes away hope. Ralph Waldo Emerson puts it this way, “Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”

Learn from every experience: we cannot completely avoid pain, hurt, and failures in life. We can learn to manage our choices and decisions to the degree that we minimize the things that cause us pain, but no matter how well we manage life, there are bound to be mountains and valleys. Our assignment as Winston Churchill advised is to find the opportunity in every difficulty. Bram Stoker in ‘Dracula’ says “we learn from failure not success.”  Experience may arguably not be the best teacher, but there is no doubt she can teach.  When we train ourselves to learn from our experiences, it takes the bite off failure, and ends up being like a fruit that both pod and seed are edible.  

“I owe yesterday gratitude because it gave me experience, I owe today action because it offers me opportunity, I owe tomorrow preparation because it gives me hope”
Kanayo Edwin Aniegboka.


image courtesy of adamr/

Kanayo Aniegboka

Kani is a Nigerian born and based minister, public speaker, entrepreneur and life coach. His keen and unique perspective to life issues makes him a refreshing voice to listen to. He currently serves as the Executive Coordinator of House on the Rock - Word House and sits on the board of a number of companies.

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