Tuesday, 27 November 2012


Today at work I was bored and disappointed. 
There are a few reasons for this including lack of sleep, not having the capacity to begin work that I am to do because I am still waiting to gain access to items that I need and a requirement to read, read and read some more as well as items not discussed here.
However I am excited as I have just literally at this moment picked up a book called “The Strengths Approach” by Wayne McCashen.  

As stated earlier within these pages I am a believer in the utilisation of strengths and feel it with this language and practise that we will largely get to appreciate all people whether they have disabilitiy or whether they come from a marginilised background.  But this book opened in a different way.  As within the first chapter there was discussion of HOPE and an Acronym was created out of this word.
·        Helping
·        Other
·        Possibilities
·        Emerge
As stated in the book
“this (HOPE) leads people to to think of hope as something they DO rather than have.  It is a deliberate and active process of the creation of new possibilities. These possibilities are built on what people already know, and are more likely to become realities when people give continuity to those things in the past that have been experienced as positive, worthwhile and having potential.”
I write about this because at times when I am bored and unexcited it is Hope that I loose first and this has a detrimental flow on effect to the other aspects of positive life, BUT as my BLOG is written with the hope and idea of reaching others and having the capacity to create positive change through the sharing of information, and experience as well as ultimately a story of my exposure to LIFE, this book has prompted new thoughts and information in my own head. 
For the concept of HOPE being an active ideal that people need to tend to with positive regard is a new angle for me to see this from.  I have been described by my wife among others as being a Negative person that thinks towards the worst case scenario time and time again.  Although I know why I do this and it works for me most of the time…. There are occasions where this strategy needs a refresh and and to be suspended so other strategies can be seen.

Source of pic

HOPE for me to date has a been a concept or undertaking that I have not been actively attending to.... In fact as mentioned above my approach to thinking of the worst case scenario is for me a practise that is used as a coping mechaism to think of the worst that can happy to determine first if I can bear that and secondly after understanding the challenge I accept that this is what I am prepared for with the hope that things go much more positively.  Which may well be a way to cope but it is certainly not optimistic.   

I also need to understand that if I am to write this BLOG it also would be in my best interests to actually live the information that is indeed published here in these pages.  And Optimism is an emotion that gains a lot of study in regard to Positive Psychology.  As the quote below states:
Optimism is faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope or confidence. ... No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to unchartered land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirt.
Helen Keller

Although I am a person who in my older years would be able to state that I have confidence.  I can as stated lack HOPE.  Hope and optimism may well be some of the emotion's (among others) that I need to cultivate in order to create the change that I seek within to live a more fulfilled and enriched life.

There is as indicated below significant reasons for cultivating these emotions rather than being pessamistic.

The advantages of optimism

Research supports the theory that being optimistic has many benefits, and that being pessimistic has many costs, on a persons overall quality of life.

The benefits of being optimistic include:
  • Better health
  • Longer life
  • A happier life
  • Less stress and anxiety
  • Successful careers
  • Better educational qualifications
  • Better relationships
  • Better at problem-solving
  • More resilient in the face of adversity
  • Cope better with failure
The costs of being pessimistic include:
  • Depression
  • Dying younger
  • Inertia in the face of adversity
  • Having a lower immune system
  • Suffering increased ill-health, both physical and mental
  • Not performing well at work
  • Failure when faced with crucial situations
  • Poorer relationships
  • Even when things turn out badly, pessimists don’t feel good about making the right prediction
So why when I am bored and unexcited do I and we often think of the negative?
Well I have read in many places (among other places as here) that our brain's are in fact from from an evolutionary perspective designed with assessing risk as its primary responsibility.  which makes sense when we were fighting for survival with many of the othe heavy hitters of the preditors, eg Lions, bears, etc But as a settled human living in suburbia we require the ability to survive these threats less and less and our brain is at a loss to know what to do with itself and can stray to seeking out threats that are still real but less threatening...  as indicated in the quote below.
 … with nothing to do, the mind is unable to prevent negative thoughts from elbowing their way to center stage worries about one’s love life, health, investments, family, and job are always hovering at the periphery of attention, waiting until there is nothing pressing that demands concentration. As soon as the mind is ready to relax, zap! the potential problems that were waiting in the wings take over. (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, 1990)

SO all this information and no way to create, plan for , or undertake actions if I am to return to the excitement of Wayne's book and to appreciate that HOPE requires the deliberate and mindful application of ongoing committment.  Well with this in mind I go... go to implement a plan.  To take a stroll in the MOMENT where I can be aware of MYSELF and those around me and to open myself to the:

·      Helping of
·        Other
·        Possibilities
·        Emerge

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