The importance of hope

Although I’m not a psychology major, I have always been fascinated by what goes inside our brain and how emotions are wired. I like rationalizing my feelings and actions. I want to understand why I do what I do. That’s why Psychology Today is one of my favorite websites, behind Wikipedia, Entertainment Weekly and I’ve just read a very interesting article about how people with hopes and optimism are more likely to succeed, and that hopes, self-efficacy and optimism are more important than intelligence and talent. It got me thinking about how hope has got me though many of my life crises and how it contributes to my happiness.

To start off, contrary to what my friends think, I don’t consider myself an optimist. Although I’m always so bubbly and all smiling, I tend think for the worst whenever something doesn’t look right. I feel insecure when things look too good to be true. I fear my happiness will be short-lived and things will all come down in a sudden. I, however, always motivate myself by reiterating how my hope is still there whenever I feel like the world is crushing down on me.

The first time I noticed the importance of hope was in my senior year of college when my parents’ marriage was falling apart. I had never felt so helpless before that long distance call from my mom. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t make sense of what was happening. I was super nerdy. I had few friends. All I had was a boyfriend who lived 3 hours away. I managed to sustain my high grades that semester despite the family drama because I told myself I still wanted to become a TV reporter after I graduate. No matter what happened with my family, that wouldn’t change. That was the sole reason I had been working so hard for three years, I couldn’t let my effort go down the drain because of my parents’ marital problem.

The second time was when I dealt with my first major breakup. I talked about it more than once here. I hit rock bottom and was in hell for two months. I was suicidal and cried every day. The only thing that kept me alive was not my family but my unfulfilled dream. I was in the business, but I wasn’t quiet what I wanted to be. I saw less talented, less well-prepared people doing what I dreamed of doing every day. I repeatedly told myself, I failed in my relationship already. I couldn’t fail in my career also. I completely devoted myself to my job and continued to work toward my dream every day, which again helped me get through that exceptionally tough time.

Years later, my goal has changed as I matured. I no longer want shallow recognization. I want self-actualization rather than fame, which is why getting a PhD has become so important to me. I recounted how I overcame my numerous rejections in detail previously. I remember telling myself, I still have hope even when it looked like every single program I had applied to has rejected me.

In the first two cases, hope was what got me through devastation because when I set myself on what I was hoping for, it took my mind off what was hurting me. My hope was still very much alive at those moments. It was easier compared to the third case when everything seemed to be over. I think it was a sign of maturity and mental strength. To many people, all hopes were gone when the third rejection came, but hopes were still alive in me. It made me reconsider my approach. My hope was so strong that it didn’t let me quit until I’ve exhausted every means.

Looking back, it’s not ideal, but I guess I’m okay with failing after giving your best. At least you get your peace of mind knowing there is no regret. What I can’t accept is not trying, and hope is what has been motivating me to keep trying and working hard till this day.


About Nicky

Nicky English is a journalist, an educator, a podcaster, a couch potato, a dreamer, and a child at heart. Learning is her passion, so is the English language, which she believes is the tool to unlock the door of knowledge. Born in Hong Kong, she received intensive writing training at The University of Iowa, where she double-majored in journalism and political science. Apart from the Hawkeye State, she’s lived in Chicago and Philadelphia. When she was a guest student at Georgetown University, she fell in love with Washington, D.C. She also has a Master of Arts in Communication. A little side note—she cannot imagine a world without her Mac and iDevices. Like many crazy ones, she hopes to change the world one day at a time.
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