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Hoping versus Wanting

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“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.” – Emily Dickinson

Photo by MA WENJUAN on Unsplash

Hope is positioned as a good thing, and it very much is. Hope is a friend of faith, and allows us to hold space in our mind for something that has not yet come to pass, but is a possibility in our future.

But hope can also be a bad thing, because it can lead to being passive and not taking action.


The passivity of hope

The concept of hope is interesting. On the outside, it can be used as an inspirational tool to create a vision of a different future. Great leaders have used hope to inspire millions to change their mindset, if just for a moment, about certain issues.

But when we get caught in the space of “hoping”, we’re not doing.

When we “hope” something changes, we’re usually expecting someone or something else to change the thing. Can you see the problem there? If you’re waiting for someone else to create change so your wants can be satisfied, you could be waiting for a long time.

The mental construct, and the emotion we call hope, is very passive. While there might be a handful of occasions where hope really is the only option, most of the time it’s not.

Most of the time there is action we could take to change something, but instead we rely on “hope”, waiting for someone else to take action.


Wanting creates action

If hope is on the passive end of the spectrum, then want is on the action end.

Think about the last time you really wanted something. If you’re a coffee drinker, it might have been that first cup this morning. It might have been something you bought on Amazon, or even to open a social media platform and scroll through.

While these are small wants, notice how when you want something, you don’t even really think twice about it. You just take the action to get the thing, no dreaming or hoping involved.

On a much larger level, when someone truly wants something, they take action to get it. Even if they know their actions may not get the result they’re after in their lifetime, it doesn’t matter. They want it, and they’re going to try and get it.

Think about a cancer researcher. They don’t only hope to find a cure, they WANT to find a cure. They want it enough that they are dedicating their time and energy to it.

Think about a mother and a new baby. The mother wants to feed her baby, even when it’s inconvenient. She doesn’t do it because she’s hopeful her baby will eat and survive. She does it because that is what she wants, and she’s going to do what she needs to to get it.


Hoping versus Wanting

Hope is soft and suggestible. Want is hard and decisive. And want gets a bad rap. We often equate wanting with selfishness. But personally wanting things is how we create results in our lives.

As long as our wants are aligning with the values we consider personally important, is there anything wrong with that? We may even have wants that don’t align well with the society we live in, but again, is there anything wrong with that? It’s those that have chosen to think outside of the box and defy social norms, that create the biggest change in the world.

One thing I’ve come to realize is that when you honor your own wants, without judgment, you allow others to honor their wants too.

So ask yourself, what have you been passively hoping for that you can harden into the resolve of wanting? Even if it’s a small habit you’ve been hoping to create, can you turn that hope into want and get it done?

The answer is yes, but you’ve gotta want it. 😉


Work with me

Do you have something you’re hoping for that needs to turn into a want so you can take action around it? Even problems as big as climate change can find solutions because humans decide to take action, rather than just hoping someone else will fix it. I can help you harden your hope into want. 

Book a complimentary consultation with me to start exploring the possibilities.

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