Plant hope wall painting

Planting hope: the importance of inspiring optimism and having faith

thinking & thriving
by holly tucker

2ND APRIL 2024

I truly believe hope can move mountains and that surrounding yourself with optimistic people can absolutely change the world, no matter how steep a challenge we face. Here’s why…

Why I’ve built a life based on hope

Hope’s a strange thing isn’t it? It can feel slightly idiotic to remain hopeful when things look bleak, reality is giving you a sharp kick up the backside and especially when nobody else seems to have much of it left at all. Yet actually, it’s incredibly powerful. I learnt from my Conversations of Inspiration podcast, that it’s what enabled Dr Edith Eger to survive Auschwitz, Henry Fraser to become a mouth artist despite being paralysed from the waist down aged just 17 and Dame Deborah James DBE to raise more than £11 million by living life with ‘rebellious hope’ as she called it. Just think what we’d have lost without it…

The importance of being hopeful

If people like Kanya King MBE, Jo Fairly or Gemma Metcalfe-Beckers gave up hope when times were tough, there would be no MOBO Awards, fair trade chocolate and definitely no Strong Girls Club. It can also have a huge impact on your working life (and if you’re a founder, you might want to read why it pays to hold onto hope in business). To me, hope is a powerful blend of optimism and willpower. It's not just a fleeting feeling; it's a mindset that can be cultivated over time. You see, hope is all about believing that tomorrow holds more promise than today, and trusting in our own ability to shape that future. It's about taking tangible steps towards our dreams. It's about being proactive, resilient and adaptable — and these are things I wholeheartedly believe in.

What exactly is hope?

To me, hope is a skill — one that we can all sharpen with practice. It's about embracing challenges as opportunities, staying flexible and creative, and sending hopeful messages to others to inspire them to remain optimistic too. It’s not about skipping through life with blinders on but about expecting obstacles along the way — and then drawing strength from the stories of others who have overcome incredible odds. It’s having faith in the future by trusting in the strength of possibilities and goals.

According to the ‘Hope Theory’, hope consists of three key elements:

According to psychologist Charles Snyder's theory (1), hopeful thinking is made up of three key elements:

  1. Setting goals and then thinking in goal-orientated ways
  2. Harnessing your willpower and believing that you can instigate change
  3. Charting out the different pathways that can help you achieve the above

It's this powerful combination that then propels us forward, even in the face of adversity — that’s hope. Now as someone who has learnt over the past few years, the importance of surrounding yourself with radiators not drains — and that being the most optimistic person in the room ultimately makes you the most likely to succeed — I allow myself not only to hold onto hope, but to truly embrace it. Then I do whatever I can to spread it, because when we spread it, it’s this that becomes our self-fulfilling prophecy rather than fear.

Why women need hope more than ever

This may not be true for everyone but I’ve found that many of life’s cynics seem to be the men I know. Yet for the bright, resilient women around me, navigating through these turbulent times requires more than just grit. It demands a steadfast belief in the power of optimism and the strength of the human spirit, otherwise we might as well just give up — and for us, that’s often not an option as we have families to look after, as well as households and businesses to run. We know it’s not just our own lives that will be affected, but potentially many others too. So why not reverse this, and spread some seeds of hope rather than planting fear in the minds of others, so that we all stand a greater chance of succeeding instead?

How spreading hope can brighten lives

Optimism isn't just about being upbeat or denying problems. It’s a lens through which we view the world and a mindset that shapes our reality. It's about acknowledging the darkness while looking for the light, living in gratitude and believing in possibilities. Here are some ways we can help inspire it in others.

  • Keep an attitude of gratitude: Focus on the good not the bad, and the many things we all have to be grateful for.
  • Look for meaning: Do more things that align with your values. Living with purpose often leads to a more hopeful existence.
  • Stay connected: Human connection is a powerful antidote to despair. It reminds us that we’re not alone and inspires hope through hearing other people’s incredible life stories.
  • Become more resilient: It’s seeing that failures are inevitable parts of life, and challenges are opportunities for growth and learning, rather than insurmountable obstacles.

Become a beacon of light: inspire hope every day

Let’s face it, the world is dark enough. If we’re in a position to be able to spread light to others for generations to come, then shouldn’t we? Isn’t that a positive use of our time on the planet? Here are some ideas…

  • Share triumphant stories, optimism and positive news
  • Offer support and encouragement to those feeling lost
  • Lead by example and live with faith in your own views
  • Help create a more hopeful and compassionate society

Together, we can build a hopeful future

Let's roll up our sleeves and plant hope together — not just as a fleeting feeling, but as a guiding force that propels us towards a brighter tomorrow. Let’s reframe these from being ‘challenging times’ to ‘the greatest moment in history to be alive’ because only we have the power to change our futures for the better. I’m honestly hopeful that we can. The world may be uncertain, but with hope as our roots and optimism as our branches, we can grow through even the darkest of times with grace and resilience. Let’s plant more of it.

Holly's signature