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Be Hopeful

Be Hopeful

We all go through times when we see the world through cloudy-colored glasses. Times when it’s tempting to just climb into bed — or bathtub — and hide out, maybe for up to a month.

Fortunately for your loved ones, your livelihood and your life, we’ve gathered together eight tactics from TED speakers to cut through the fog.


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1. Shift your expectations.

At times, it can seem impossible to stay optimistic in the face of the day’s headlines.

When you wake up and think it’s going to be a blah day, you’re helping set yourself up to have just such a day. So the next time you catch yourself making a gloomy prediction, first congratulate yourself for noticing.

Then, think about a few things you can look forward to throughout the day and you’ll begin training your brain to zoom in on positive events.


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“Optimism changes subjective reality. The way we expect the world to be changes the way we see it. But it also changes objective reality. It acts as a self-fulfilling prophecy.”



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2. Recognize that you can change your life at any point.

Do you feel like it’s hard to be look forward to the future because it seems all too predictable?

  • Choice #1: resign yourself to the inevitable
  • Choice #2: open yourself up to the possibilities that exist for everyone, at every age.

Consider Paul Tasner . He was shaken out of his daily grind when he was laid off at the age of 64.

At the age of 66, he decided to become a first-time entrepreneur.

The Californian now makes biodegradable packaging that helps combat the plastic pollution crisis — and says, “I am doing the most rewarding and meaningful work of my life right now.”


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3. Look for meaning in the most challenging moments.

For some, pessimism is not a passing inclination but a near-constant outlook shaped by difficult, maybe brutal times.

“Avoidance and endurance can be the entryway to forging meaning,” says Andrew Solomon .

Solomon transformed a childhood marked by bullying and emotional torment into a life of helping others communicate their own stories of growth.


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“You need to take the traumas and make them part of who you’ve come to be, and you need to fold the worst events of your life into a narrative of triumph, evincing a better self in response to things that hurt.”



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4. Listen to another person’s story.

When you’re feeling down, it can help to get out of your own head.

This week, make it a point to ask someone — a family member, friend or even a stranger — to tell you a story about a meaningful time in their life. Listen deeply and intentionally.

When you hear a story about the love, wisdom and courage that fill our most important moments, says Isay, “it can sometimes feel like you’re walking on holy ground.”


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5. Return to your home base.

Does your discouragement stem from being knocked down one too many times? Writer Elizabeth Gilbert knows what that’s like. After the blockbuster success of her memoir Eat, Pray, Love , she released another book — and “it bombed,” she says.

“I was fine,” she adds.

That’s because her home base is the act of writing itself — not getting good reviews, watching her books become best-sellers, or selling movie rights.

How can you find your own center amid life’s sturm und drang ? Identify the thing or things in this world that you love more than you love yourself, says Gilbert.


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“I will always be safe from the random hurricanes of outcome as long as I never forget where I rightfully live,”



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​ 6. Add some wow to your world.

It may seem wrong to stay cheerful in the face of the many big problems confronting us.

Think for a moment about the practical know-how, creativity, teamwork and just plain gumption that made the idea a reality — and know that world-changing ideas are being hatched all around us.

Swap some of the time you spend reading or listening to the news; instead do a search for news stories with the key word “innovation”.


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“Innovation leads to more innovation leads to more innovation”



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7. Remember the essential goodness of humanity.

After her mother who was a Cancer patient Latham started collecting stories of human kindness from all 50 states, staying with strangers along the way. She is compiling a book that she hopes to place in hospital waiting rooms. “There is an unfathomable amount of kindness that I have seen,” she says, “and when we put our fears aside, when we connect to strangers, when we smile at the people next to us or put away our judgments, it opens up a door into an entirely different way of life.”


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8. Think about your death (yes, really).

After someone close to her passed away, Chang was inspired to transform an abandoned home in her city of New Orleans into a giant chalkboard with a single fill-in-the-blank sentence: “Before I die I want to ___.”

As people completed the sentence with answers like the wall changed from a neglected space into one that connected neighbors and highlighted their hopes and dreams.

In this way, preparing for death — and thinking about all the things you can achieve right now — can be one of the most uplifting things you can do.


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“In our age of increasing distractions, it’s more important than ever to find ways to maintain perspective, and remember that life is brief and tender.”



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How to be more hopeful : The ideas of 8 Ted speakers.

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