Hope affects outcome… why?


If I were to tell you that hope affected outcome most of you would have no difficulty accepting this statement as truth. What we might all have a bit of difficulty agreeing on is why… why does hope affect outcome?

I asked this question to a very intelligent person the other day and that person offered a very rational explanation being that having hope likely increases effort.

Being hopeful that your efforts will manifest your desired results would reasonably have a positive effect on your willingness to put forth effort. Very often increasing effort will increase the probability of achieving a goal.

This makes sense in concrete settings in which the ‘effort’ exerted is known and understood. For example, if I wanted to nail two pieces of wood together, then the effort would involve hitting a nail with a hammer… I could increase the likely hood of those two pieces of wood being nailed together by increasing effort.

What if I wanted to be happy, cure a chronic illness, meet my soul mate, be creative, feel successful, live in abundance, feel authentic, or find purpose in my life?

Do we have a firm understanding of the effort that must be utilized in order to manifest such things?

And if we are not fully aware of what effort will bring about our desired result then how can hope encourage us to use more of that effort?

Here is the tricky question… if you have absolutely no idea what effort is needed to manifest your desires then how does having hope seem to affect the manifestations of your desires?

If you have hope that you can overcome adversity you are more likely to overcome adversity even if your only strategy is hope itself…

People ingest sugar pills believing that they are being given a medicine and they show more improvements than those who were not given a sugar pill… what is the active ingredient in that sugar pill? Is the placebo effect truly the effect of hope?

What if hope is an effort that reliably impacts reality?

Is it impossible that being hopeful is an intervention with comparable reliability to more structured and measurable interventions?

We have entered into an age where postmodernism is a more widely understood philosophy… postmodernism claims that reality is simply a construct that we maintain through language… reality therefor does not exist in objective terms and can be altered by altering the way we collectively choose to perceive it.

Even the hard sciences are finding this to be somewhat evident in ironically measurable ways… quantum physicists are finding that matter may not actually exist.

From a postmodern perspective if would fit that hope can quite literally alter the reality which it is projected upon…

If you align yourself with hope you allow the creation of the very reality which you hoped to manifest.

Hope and mass would both be constructs which have the same ability to influence the collective belief system which is reality.

I told you that the “why” is where we might all struggle to find agreement on this hope subject, so let me pull a bit back from this philosophical journey.

Even if we cannot answer the “why” question in a universally accepted fashion we are still left with the same observation… hope effects outcome.

Do you have the choice to be hopeful… do you get to choose what you are hopeful for?

Be wary of rigid ‘realism’ which forces negativity on your constructed reality… we may have no rational explanation for why a sugar pill can increase recovery rates but it would be irrational to deny the statistics.

People choose to be hopeful… people choose to use hope as a means of increasing the probability of a desired outcome coming into fruition.

You could get caught up on the why… or you could choose to allow… you could choose to allow yourself to use the not-yet-understood strategy of being hopeful.

William Hambleton Bishop is a practicing therapist in Steamboat Springs Colorado.
William Hambleton Bishop
William Hambleton Bishop is a practicing therapist in Steamboat Springs Colorado.

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