All we look for and live on… is Hope!

The new year 2021 begins today. The gone by year 2020 was a struggle for all of us – hardships with the pandemic COVID-19, lockdowns, loss of lives, livelihood, jobs, distancing between people, the nature’s destruction as well as hidden beauty that came to the fore and a whole new perspective to life, relationships and future that enlightened us as the months passed on.

So how are we looking forward to 2021? I came across the below image where 2021 spells HOPE. Hope is a wonderful feeling. To be hopeful is to be positive and have trust that good things can happen and all we need is a little patience. Samuel Smiles, a Scottish author quoted this for Hope – “Hope is like the sun, which as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us”. A very beautiful saying that highlights that hope is having a positive outlook that could put all struggles, troubles behind us.

2021 – The year of Hope

Hope is powerful and works best when you believe, have faith and trust that the best will come. With this hope, do you think we could leave Coronavirus behind and have normal lives again? – Yes we could. May be we cannot bring the dead back to life, or gain back what we have lost, but we can surely value our relationships better, not take things for granted, become self-reliant and conserve nature better.

When coronavirus emerged, the world struggled to take control and it was declared as a pandemic. Many newspapers brought out the details of how the world has battled various other deadly viruses , flu and plagues over the last 100 years – the Bubonic plague (great plague of Milan, Italy) ; Cholera ; HIV/AIDS ; Spanish Flu ; Small pox etc. To give you details around each pandemic, sharing an article here. Also read on how the final thoughts mention that thought the devastation is real, humans continue to persist and manage on with time. And yes, if we have survived these deadly diseases in the past we could surely come out of COVID-19 too in the years to come and this will work best, when we have hope.

10 Deadliest Pandemics In History Were Much Worse Than Coronavirus (thefederalist.com)

Hope emerges when we are struggling, when we are in the dark. Hope is the light that gives us some positive assurance that this too shall pass. Even the Holy scriptures believes in hope and highlights the true strength that hope brings to human lives. Sharing below some of the quotes of the Bible that outlines the true power of Hope, keeping our believes in the Lord Almighty and how hope cannot be seen but can be truly felt and trusted.

Jeremiah – 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.

Isaiah – 40:31 – ‘But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.’

Romans – 5:5 – And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans – 8:24 – For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?.

Barack Obama truly believed in hope and that brought him to power, years later.

Famous people like Barack Obama, Walt Disney and many others also believed and strived with hope. With the same hope, Barack Obama was able to survive in America as a Black American and have a good future, going to the time he became the President of America ruling the hearts of the people and striving for the good change he wanted to bring in America. We all know how slavery and discrimination to the Black people ruled America since the 17th century. With the ill-treatment and discrimination, did the Blacks ever think they would ever come to par with the whites? May be Hope gave them enough strength and the Blacks survived and reached this position where they are on par with them now – I know the situation is still grim and Blacks are still fighting for their rights, the discrimination still exists but hope is a stronger force that can create miracles if we have faith. There will definitely be a time when we can see Blacks on par with whites. Hope lives on…

While the world binge watched series and movies back to back on the OTT platforms, one of my friend told me about this movie called – The Shawshank Redemption that I should watch. While I browsed through to know the story and see the movie ratings, I came across articles that said how this movie is so relevant to the current times of Covid-19. This movie talks about hope in the times of darkness. A very famous dialogue by Andy Dufrense, played by Tim Robbins speaks volumes of the virtue of Hope.

The Shawshank Redemption – a 1994 Classic.

The movie shows how as prisoners, Andy and his friend, Red (played by Morgan Freeman) live in fear and struggle through the prison times for the crimes they committed. While both the characters had different view towards life and hope, it taught me how to view hardships of life as an opportunity and as a challenge and have the hope and strive towards the better. While some can dwell in the dark and get used to it like Red did, but Andy’s character showed how to embrace the difficult times and also keep up the hope that someday you could walk out free. Morgan Freeman’s narration does wonders – definitely a must watch.

Hope definitely gives you the strength to focus on the positive. It gives you the reason to live for the better times that lie ahead. I have a friend who had this goal of buying his favorite Royal Enfield bike, a limited edition version that costed approximately Rs 2.5 lakhs. He saved up for it every month and when he actually bought it, he named it ‘Hope’. In the last 2 months, he has had the best times riding his bike through unknown routes, travelling to beautiful destinations like the beaches, rivers, hills in the outskirts of the city and the joy this brought to him felt endless and beautiful. Hope – his bike is giving him those opportunities to look at the beautiful side of life and nature and keep the faith going strong for a beautiful journey of life. It feels happy to see him live on positively with his Hope, his new bike and that is what hope really is – the force that draws you out of darkness towards light, that drives you to destinations that are both beautiful and soothing to the soul, that lets you believe in yourself and for the times that could be best in the future.

My friend Abilash and his bike – Hope (Royal Enfield – BS6 Edition ) enjoying nature’s beauty.

Living with hope in our hearts does not mean we blindly believe in the positive and not work towards it – the key is to have hope, believe and have faith that things could turn out well and at the same time work towards it. While the world throws different challenges at us, all we need to focus on is the best result in the end and fight this challenge strongly. I have a strong liking for animated movies compared to real life movies or action or romance genre. I get engrossed in the story, in the beautiful colors, the characters, the relationships they portray, the narration and the ending that is beauty personified. The reason being that animated movies showcase the beauty of world and life in the true spirit with wonderful imagination and creativity that the animators add to every scene, along with teaching us life lessons that could help us improve our lives for the better – they are designed to attract the kids and youth generation but they also showcase wonderful virtues of life that we all should watch and learn from. Be it from achieving our goals, to fighting odds to overcoming difficult situations but keeping the light of hope alive within our hearts. That’s the true beauty of animated movies and they truly make me feel good and inspire me most times which is why I feel a strong connection while watching them.

Ikigai – The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles. Available on Amazon and Kindle.

Last year, I read this book ‘Ikigai – The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy life’. This book speaks in volumes about the culture of Japan, the food habits, their mentality, their philosophy of life etc. People in this country live the longest, the civilization here has been both technologically modern and ancestrally strong with old age means and with their food habits, daily work, their outlook towards life they have been able to survive any odd that they face during their age. We all know how Japan as a country is prone to earthquakes quite often, yet it is the most developed nation in the world – How do you think the people of Japan survive earthquakes and destruction and still merge out as most developed with world quality technology and machinery? – they believe in the virtue of Antifragility.

Quoting a verse from the book – ‘As Nassim Nicholas Taleb explains in Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder we use the word fragile to describe people, things, and organizations that are weakened when harmed, and the words robust and resilient for things that are able to withstand harm without weakening, but we don’t have a word for things that get stronger when harmed (up to a point). To talk about things that get stronger when they are harmed, Taleb proposes the term antifragile: “Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.”

The people of Japan do not worry or get anxious with life’s adversities, instead they take it up as a challenge and work towards the better. This virtue of having a foresight for a good future comes with hope. The book highlights how to build resilience in our lives and how we shouldn’t fear adversity because each setback is an opportunity for growth. If we adopt an anti-fragile attitude, we’ll find a way to get stronger with every blow, refining our lifestyle and focusing on the good things of life. You can buy this book from the below link –

https://www.amazon.in/gp/product/178633089X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=3638&creative=24630&creativeASIN=178633089X&linkCode=as2&tag=inspiringst05-21&linkId=6afcd70f658c6033ba9c61a90b9378f1

I am also a NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) trained practitioner and master. NLP has taught me that when events happen in your life, the internal representation that you create of everything that happens to you is said to possess the highest form of power. This implies that what we project, perceive or imagine in our minds have a stronger hold on our lives than what life throws at us. This is for the same reason why having good visualization and hope is necessary at all times. NLP highlights the importance of having metaphors or picturization in mind for all that is important to your life. For example, you can imagine health as a big garden or money as air that you would receive in abundance. Disclaimer to metaphorisation – this is not wishful thinking but a way to attract the best to your life by sheer visualization, belief and hope. The same way, you could also relate to what hope means to you – it could be the sunshine or the rainbow after the rains, the sunrise post the dark night or the beauty of a mountain after a volcanic eruption etc.

Hope is the greatest virtue.

I have also learnt that Hope is also used as an acronym – which stands for Hold On, Pain Ends. This highlights how hope is definitely a great virtue we should hold on to with the faith that our pains will come to an end soon. It is also important to have an outlook of looking at adversities as opportunities to grow stronger and overcome difficult times as these will help you stand strong and grow in life. While the world is struggling with coronavirus and tough times, it is also actively working on numerous vaccines to combat the virus and at the same time, we are all following precautions of wearing masks, sanitization and social distancing. This is how we should strive yet live with hope for positive times in our hearts. Remember, Hope is the only thing stronger than fear. Wishing everyone a very happy new year 2021 and I hope this year brings a lot of positivity and hope to all of us :).

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