Balancing Hope and Reality

How do you find balance between positive thinking and accepting reality? How do you walk the fine line between reassuring someone or dismissing their feelings? Hope is a dissonant concept; it asks us to look at reality while simultaneously envisioning it’s opposite.

The difficulty in balancing hope and reality comes when our hopes are not built on logic. Hope is often referred to in creative writing as a form of lying. Trying to cheer someone with irrational assurance fails when they see through the improbabilities. Pipe dreams turn into melancholy when reality rules the day.

In workplace teams, those who respond to difficulties with unfounded hope lose credibility. Saying, “It’ll be fine,” without rational thinking to prove your stance does not inspire others or build trust. Managers who succeed in offering hope in the face of adverse situations do so with three key components.

1. Offer constructive hope. Whether telling yourself or reassuring others, constructive hope is built on a grain of truth. Let reality lend a hand in giving credence to your optimism.

2. Celebrate the good and acknowledge risks. The negatives cannot be ignored or swept under the rug, yet they also should not take all our attention. Give recognition to positive outcomes.

3. Lead by example. Hopeful outcomes are produced by action. Take action, even if a small step is the only one you can take.

Hope is no less realistic than despair. It is still our choice whether to live in light or lie down in darkness.

Rick Yancey
– American Author