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Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainity that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out. Hope is not related to accomplishment. - Margaret Wheatley, Beyond Hope & Fear

When we start new things - projects, ideas, organizations - we do so with great expectation. We begin each new venture with one word in mind. Hope.

Unfortunately many of us don’t tend to stay hopeful for long.

Often our hopes are quickly dashed as we realize things aren’t moving as fast as we expected. Perhaps they’re even moving backwards. We become frustrated when it feels like we’ll never see our dreams become reality. And yet, according to Wheatley, this kind of thinking might be the very antithesis to the nature of hope. What she wants us to see is that hoping is never about achieving the end.

No, hoping is about what we do with our time in the here and now. It is about doing what we think makes sense whether or not we are fortunate enough to one day see the fruits of our labor.

Allowing ourselves to see things from this point of view gives us a tremendous amount of grace and freedom in the present moment. This grace and freedom gives us energy, and this energy can now be used to experiment in the here and now instead of being frustrated with what has yet to come.

What’s ironic is that often these “experiments” (read: not frustrations) are what eventually lead to success. When you aren’t focused on your frustration for the future which has yet to arrive, you are free to play in the “now.” Plus, it’s certainly way more fun.

When the forms of an old culture are dying, the new culture is created by a few people who are not afraid to be insecure. - Margaret Wheatley

The other tricky thing about hoping for something new is that it requires you to participate in the blessing and the curse of feeling insecure. We all want guarantees, and yet the future belongs to those who refuse the need for them. The blessing of creating a new culture is that if we can stand the feeling of insecurity that comes with opposing views, we might actually change the world. The curse is that feeling insecure and “outside,” usually just feels plain, old crappy. The choice is yours, of course. However, history has shown us that the new day is reserved for those who are willing to be uncomfortable with being an outsider - different and misunderstood.*

*However, this does not give you the freedom to be an ass with your opposing views. Being a loudmouth from the sidelines, touting your “right views” (whatever they may be) has fundamentalism written all over it. And fundamentalists don’t change the world, they simply divide it.

Which will you be?

Will you hope only with the end in mind? Or will you see hope as energy-giving freedom to live in the present?

Will you stand up for something only if you know you won’t have to be an outsider? Or will you allow yourself the terribly lovely feeling of being insecure?

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting
- T.S. Elliot, Four Quartets

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