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Is it better to be hopeful or careful?

When you had a job interview that you feel pretty good about, how high are your hopes? Are you careful with having any hope at all because you keep in mind there’s always a chance that you’ll get disappointed?

When you have a dream, whatever that dream may be, do you feel hopeful (maybe even sure) about it becoming your reality? Or are you careful with getting too enthusiastic, always keeping in mind that there’s the possibility of your dream not ever coming true?

My first response depends on the topic. Job interview? Let’s try to not get too excited, Lobke. Making dreams come true? Hell yes, where there’s a will, there’s a way. And while I can see how both being hopeful and careful have their advantages, I would like to share some thoughts with you about the danger of thinking too carefully.

The wrong protection strategy

Being careful is a logical protection strategy. By being careful, you’re trying to prevent feeling too upset later on. By not getting too excited, you’re trying to reduce the disappointment you might feel when in the end, something didn’t happen the way you wanted it to happen.

But keep in mind – this protection strategy isn’t very protecting. For two reasons.

Firstly, the protection is a sham. By being careful you may feel like you have control over the amount of disappointment you may feel in the future, but in reality, you barely have any control at all. You won’t suddenly not feel sad about the job you didn’t get (that you really wanted). And chances are that when you haven’t reached some dreams after a few years, that you’re quite upset nevertheless.

The second reason as to why carefulness is bad at protecting you, is that by being too careful, you can’t enjoy the beauty of hopefulness. There’s going to be lots of things in life that will disappoint you. Rejection, sadness, and fear are just as well a part of life as love, happiness and careless laughter. So knowing that – why won’t we enjoy some carefree hope every now and then? It’s an amazing feeling to have. It lights up lives. It even lights up nations.

Hope is a kind of magic

And that dream you have? With a glimmer of hope, you’ll work on it with a completely new attitude. And that’s never a bad idea. If your head is full of worries, you will start to act upon these worries. If you think too much about what could go wrong, are too careful, you won’t do certain things and thus, indeed, you will decrease the chance of you reaching those dreams.

So be hopeful, as often as you can. It’s scarier. It feels vulnerable. But with the right amount of hope, you’ll find beauty in everything. And if you’re ever forgetting about the power of it, just remember what Dumbledore said: ‘Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light’.



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