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Hopeless Hope (AKA the Power of Optimism)

After holding out for a long time, my neighbor finally wore me down and I started watching the “Ted Lasso” show.  It turns out that I should have listened sooner! It’s a great show and I’m looking forward to watching the rest of the seasons. Most of the series emphasizes positivity in the face of adversity, a message that we all need to be reminded of. The last episode, titled “The Hope that Kills You”, was built around a saying often used in football (soccer) and other sports. The saying, “it’s the hope that kills you” suggests the greater your hope is for your team’s success, the more crushing a defeat is. The same week I watched this episode, I also saw the latest Spiderman movie and one of the characters said, “if you expect disappointment, then you can never really be disappointed”. These messages were so negative, I started to think that instead of watching shows, I should take a walk more often ?. Where did positivity go?

As most of you know, I’ve lived near Philadelphia for most of my life. Philadelphians tend to be very passionate about sports, so much so that this passion sometimes makes national headlines! That said, most sports fans start each season believing that this year will be the year they win the championship. We follow our teams’ successes and failures avidly, never losing hope that the team will blaze a path to glory no matter how low they go. And yes, except for in 2018 when the Eagles won the Super Bowl and in 2008 when the Phillies won the World MLB Championships, bringing celebrations to the City of Brotherly Love, we are often disappointed. I have to wonder whether the positivity Philly fans consistently send our teams causes the teams to work a little harder and to win a few extra games…or at least score more points? After all, if there is no hope and only the expectation of disappointment, then why try at all?

So, while most of the show I mentioned is full of positive messages and is well worth watching, I cannot say that I agree with the idea that a lack of hope, positivity or optimism is the way to go. I believe that expecting positive outcomes in general is just better. It improves our mindset, empowers us to accomplish our goals, makes us more pleasant human beings, and is just better for our souls.

There is a Latin saying, “Dum spiro spero” which translates to “while I breathe, I hope.” That speaks to me! It’s a message of eternal hope for positive outcomes, large or small. Have you ever noticed that if you start your day with the right cocktail of a positive outlook, not only does your day go well but it just feels better?

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” – Helen Keller


What will you hope for this weekend?