David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

Last Wednesday, I listened to one of my favorite podcasts and I heard this statement, “There are no hopeless situations, only people who think hopelessly.” As soon as I heard it, I knew it needed to go into my daily reflections and be a topic that I wrote about. This statement is so freeing. It tells us that we are never in a situation that has no hope. We may feel things are hopeless, but the situation isn’t. Let’s unpack this a bit.

We are all a product of our thought life. When we change our thoughts, everything around us changes. Let’s use fear as an example. Our fears are based on our thoughts. Experiences or past teachings have set up certain scenarios in our minds, and we become afraid when we see something that reminds us of those details. If we change our thoughts, the fear passes. Sometimes we may need someone to help us think through our fears, but we can still process through them. That’s why fears and concerns in the middle of the night seem so much worse than during the day. It’s dark, and we are typically alone.

So back to hopeless. If we view things as hopeless, they most likely will be hopeless. Our thoughts paralyze our creative process. We only see the problem or issue and can’t see the opportunities that may be right in front of us. When we change our thoughts, we can move from being reactive to creative. I know what you might think: “Dave, you don’t understand my situation. It is completely out of my control.” You are absolutely correct. I don’t know your situation, and where you are right now might be completely out of your control. What is in your control is what you do in and with the situation to create a new future. By choosing to approach the situation with a hopeful mindset, you unlock the potential to create something new and better.

Here are just a few tips for moving toward a hopeful mindset:

  1. Take time to reflect on what you have already been through in your life. The key behind this is that you successfully went through it. We are far more resilient than we think we are.
  2. Shift your thinking from ‘I can’ or ‘I can’t’ to ‘how can I’. This change in your thinking will immediately shift you to a positive, forward-looking life stance.
  3. Practice gratitude – be grateful for what you do have and stop dwelling on what you don’t.

One more tip, don’t go it alone. Have a friend or thinking partner who will keep you focused on a bright and exciting future.