Find Hope. Give Hope.


“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great.” — Mark Twain

15 years ago, at a Burger King restaurant in Omaha, NE, I sat across the table from an important mentor in my life named Rudy. I had questions about my future. Specifically, I had doubts about a path I had chosen with my life. I needed some encouragement to continue.

After describing the emotions and fears I had been experiencing over the past several months, Rudy responded with a simple statement, “I think you can do it. In fact, there is no doubt in my mind that you can accomplish what you are seeking. I have complete confidence in you.”

15 years later, I still recall that specific conversation as one of the most influential moments in my life. Not because it solved my problems or eliminated the hard work ahead of me. But because it gave me the one resource needed to persevere: hope.

Hope is one of the greatest assets in the entire world. It is one of the greatest treasures we can ever find for ourselves. And it is one of the greatest gifts we can ever give to somebody else.

Hope provides us with motivation to persevere. It calls us to dream dreams of significance and influence. It begs us to work diligently with optimism and promise.

And as I discovered that Tuesday afternoon on 114th and Dodge, hope is often found in the relationships we have secured around us. After all, when hope in ourselves begins to diminish (as it will at times), we must look elsewhere. In those moments, we look towards those around us for confidence and hope.

Surround yourself with people who speak confidence in your life. Nurture relationships with optimistic people who have overcome trial and hardship. Remove people from your direct sphere of influence who discourage you, trample your creativity, or who are so self-absorbed they never help others. Instead, seek people who inspire and believe in you.

In turn, do the same for others. See the good. Believe in potential. And encourage daily.

Sow hope in the soul of everyone you meet. (tweet that)

Image: Aah-Yeah

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. says

    One of the basic obligations in life, and one of the core messages in Francis of Assisi’s prayer: “Where there is despair, let me sow HOPE.”

  2. says

    Hey Joshua, nice post! I’ve been reading your blog for a while and it’s been a great motivator for me. In the past two years, I’ve been naturally becoming a minimalist and after that I realized there are so many people who want to live and share this kind of lifestyle. Your site has become one of my favorite resources and I find it very encouraging. Thanks for sharing again.

  3. says

    I totally agree with this post – there are too many of us who are way too eager to bring people down. We are ready to sow doubt, and negativity in others. We do not want others to succeed, we want to keep them at the same level as us. We are afraid they will get above us, and then we might lose them as friends or we will be forced to move upward with them. Whatever it is, you have to be careful about the kind of people who surround yourself with. You become like the 5 people you associate with most. Thanks for the post!

  4. says

    It really is amazing what a few words of encouragement can do. And if those words come from someone who really knows you, it means even more. It’s also amazing how being around negative or mean peopel can really bring you down for the long haul… pay attention to who’s around you!

  5. says

    Beautiful. Thank you. A few months ago, a mentor was the first to tell me, ‘shine. as brightly as you are capable of. I can take it. as a matter of fact, I want you to. bring it on’. Powerful. So, I am (shining that Light). Reflections like this one amplify it!

  6. says

    No one is too young or too old to hear these words. I love the idea of shedding negative people. Simplifying one’s life is also about simplifying one’s relationships. Thanks!

    • Kate says

      You must be a “carpenter of relationships”, Becky, as you have certainly nailed one of the easiest ways to simplify life. The peace of less chaos, fewer putdowns, less conflict and subterfuge is worth it.

  7. Elizabeth says

    What beautiful words of wisdom! Thank you for your thoughts regarding the importance of hope and how to share it with others. I so enjoy your postings and always feel enriched by them.

  8. says

    I just went to a conference about following your dreams – specifically for women. The speaker mentioned that one of the key points to realizing your dreams is to have someone that believes in you. My husband is that person for me. The Mark Twain quote at the beginning helped me understand why I have felt a need to remove a certain person from my inner circle. Thanks for the clarity.

  9. says

    Awesome write up Joshua. I needed this. I need to get better at connecting with more people who speak more confidence in me. When I share my new ideas and goals there are times people tell me to ‘wait’ or ‘maybe not now’ or ‘what’s your whole plan?’ and such. It can get very discouraging, but I make it a point for myself to always be encouraging and positive for others. Aloha

  10. Lisa says

    Thank you for this post! Also, for the link to your post on significance; I will be sending that one to my adult son on his birthday.

  11. says

    Nice post! There was a period in my life when I was in great despair but I relied my hope in the faith I have in God and through prayers from the people in my sphere of influence, helped me overcome it. Hope anchors the soul.

  12. says

    In my life, the momentary kindness of others has been more lifechanging than anything else. A hug, a word of encouragement, or a passing statement that expressed confidence in me–these are the things that has redirected my whole life. I don’t think it’s possible to overstate the power of love and encouragement in the lives of others. You’re so right: it spreads hope.

  13. Colette says

    I agree with this post. However, It is hard when close family members are the ones being negative to cut off.

  14. Brenda says

    Once when I was hopeless and mentally exhausted having left no stone unturned, devoid of any desire even for a sip of water to quench my parched lips, a nurse said to me…”let me hope for you”. Of all the therapy and books and special diets and exercises those five words are what saved me, and I don’t even know her name.

  15. Magi says

    “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great.” — Mark Twain

    The thing is to also be able to keep yourself going if you are alone 98% of the time- and not take to heart those who’s encouragement were once so very important and uplifting are either no longer here or no longer entertain the thought of you- if you are invisible or dead to most, their former encouragements no longer feel sincere- they not only didn’t notice you leaving the room- they never knew or cared that you were there to begin with- that is a real challenge to succeed in ones own efforts to many.

    • petra says

      Brenda, thank you so much for sharing your story. It really touched me and is the reason for me to write my first comment here. I sometimes feel useless, but knowing that a few words, spoken with love, can change the world for someone else gives me new perspective.
      Thank you!

Sites That Link to this Post

  1. Fear Mongering | February 12, 2013

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