Photograph: Rohit Gautam
APPROXMATELY 69,000 and 77,000 years ago at Lake Toba a supervolcano erupted in Sumatra, Indonesia plunging the planet into a 6 to 10 year volcanic winter, during which light was obscured, plants and animals died and human populations were almost completely wiped out. The population of humans in the world reduced to less than 10,000 breeding pairs. The fact that this small group of relatively fragile species populated the whole planet illustrates the deep driving power of the mental state we call hope.
Research evidence shows that even life stressors such as bereavement, trauma, and severe failure, produce in the majority of people a resilient response. Hopeful people keep in mind a broader range of goals than the average person. They do not get fixated on any one ‘must have or my life is meaningless’ goal but consider many possibilities for fulfilment.
The definitions of hope state that it is the “feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best” or the “will to cherish a desire with anticipation”. Psychologists who study Positive Psychology emphasise not the negative emotions, but rather the human capacity for optimism and resilience.
Once they pursue a goal they give it great commitment and energy. Most important they have many routes to their goal. They do not concentrate on one technique, method, or strategy but constantly review their progress and change their style and tactic to suit the situation.
The more job interviews you have the higher your chance of a job and the more failure you have the more learning experiences you can acquire. Failure is only damaging if we take it personally, attribute it to some unchangeable aspect of our ability or personality (instead of to some aspect of the self or world we can change), or if we withdraw into despair.
To be hopeful individuals should hope for the best but be flexible, learn from mistakes, and most of all believe they can change themselves.