“Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large.”
Five years ago I pulled over on the I-5 freeway sobbing. I couldn’t drive. I had been on my way home from a fertility clinic where I’d just learned that it was going to be hard for us to have children. But I still had hope. And so I called the doctor and asked for a more specific answer:
Me: “I’m a numbers guy. Shoot me straight. What are the odds that this can work?”
Doc: “They’re very, very low. I’d say less than 5%.”
BOOM. 95% odds of failure was like a bomb going off in my heart. This was the moment where I started to lose hope. I’m not a crier. I’m one of those guys who holds in his emotions even when I know I should let them pour out. I don’t know why I’m like that, but this was too much for me. I come from a family of 10. Being a dad was part of my destiny in my mind. It was part of my DNA. Going through the emotions of not having that future was like letting a future version of myself die.
I won’t go into the gory details of the many years before and after that because this isn’t a sad story. It’s a happy story. But I will relive and share the thing that got me through all those bad times – HOPE.
Viktor Frankl famously said that no one can force you to feel a certain way. The environment you experience and the future you live is what you make of it. Now, I won’t compare my life to the Nazi concentration camp he experienced because that would be ridiculous, but his words were a constant reminder to me that the obstacles we confront can be encountered with optimism or pessimism. We can view them as things to overcome or things that will overcome us. It took me a long time to embrace that, but I always tried my best to encounter the next few years with a hopeful and pragmatic optimism. I was going to be a happy, hopeful, good person regardless of the bad outcomes.
Yesterday I welcomed my second daughter into the world. She’s a miracle. And she’s perfect. They both are.
I can’t wait to help them grow into beautiful, thoughtful, kind and hopeful people.
Stay hopeful my friends!
NB – There’s a saying on Wall Street that “hope isn’t a strategy”. I disagree.