3.1 Hope and Optimism

Posted by Mike Kaaks

08 October 2019

Are you a hopeful person? I’ve used the metaphor about optimism to consider this question. Are you a glass half full, or a glass half empty. Where you sit between these alternatives is a significant indicator of the degree of hope you bring to your engagement with the world.

I feel the need to share a personal story here. I am blessed to be outside the half full half empty scale, blessed to be an extreme optimist. I have come to describe myself as a glass overflowing rather than half full. I thank my parents daily for this condition. Whether it became part of me through nature or nurture doesn’t matter, either way they get the credit. What it means is that I approach every day (well almost every day!) every new issue with a vitality that springs up without conscious effort.  When issues are well in play though, especially if the outlook becomes bleak, I need something to create a new spark.

In this context, creating such sparks, I enjoyed what AFL football legend Leigh Matthews had to say about this. He was on a commentary panel calling a game in which the three quarter time margin was huge – things seemed hopeless for the training side. He was asked what a coach can do in these circumstances; when there is no apparent chance of winning. Give them hope was his answer. That is the role of the sporting coach. Help them see that all is not yet lost. There is a coupling of this view with Scharmer’s view of the emerging future that has outcomes we want. Building hope leads to actions that cause us to lead from that place we seek to have emerge.

I’ve mentioned Positive Psychology on the facing page. This field is also opening doors through which we can share the smile of hope and optimism more widely.

Glass Overflowing

  • Expectation
  • Cheerfulness
  • Confidence
  • Enthusiasm
  • Taking it on

Glass empty

  • Distrust
  • Hopelessness
  • Expecting the worst
  • Doubt
  • Worry

Positive Psychology is a growing field which helps us prosper and lead healthy happy lives

Absolutely You