“There is nothing on earth that you cannot have-once you have mentally accepted the fact that you can have it.”

-Robert Collier

Introduction

What is life? A journey from birth to death, or living every moment of everyday to its fullest? What makes it interesting is we never know what the future beholds. Reality always does not match what we imagine it to be or wish it to be, when that happens we find ourselves out of our comfort zone, but life has to go on. In many aspects of life we have limited or no options: the family we are born to, the economic strata that we are born into, our genetic physical traits and deformities is any. We can choose to be bogged down by such circumstances, and blame fate or the almighty for our predicament, but human history is full of instances of people who were born in worse circumstances but like the proverbial phoenix they rose from the ashes of their despair and charted a life full of meaning, happiness and success. The question is what these people have that helped them overcome adverse situations and disadvantages. What was the secret mantra that enabled them to think and work towards a better life and success for themselves in spite of being in situations that were clearly unfavourable?  The answer is a single word: Hope. Hope is the secret sauce that has helped people overcome impossible obstacles and insurmountable odds throughout human history.

Inner conflict in intrinsic to human nature. We are creatures of emotions. Prone to doubts, fear, misgivings and self-pity. Life had a way of throwing challenges in our path, be it in our personal or professional spheres. May be the promotion you wanted and worked for went to a colleague or your family life is not as peaceful as you would like it to be. It is often said that tough times do not last but tough people do.  When we say tough people who do we mean exactly, are these people some kind of extraordinary human beings who are immune to fears and self-doubt, the answer is surprisingly no. These are the people who like all of us experience all the human emotions that comes with facing adverse situations in life, being thrown out of our comfort zones. However, what distinguishes them from others is their inimitable desire to succeed, their unflinching single minded devotion to the realization of the dreams they have conceived for themselves, their ability to see the light at the end of the darkest tunnel. Above all else they have hope. Hope that the dawn will bring sunshine no matter how cloudy and moonless the night is. It is hope that gives birth to dreams and dreams fuel the desire to work towards a better future.

“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

Hope is the ember that refuses to subside even when things all around it has turned to ashes.  It is this ember if nurtured will grow into a full flame that will show us the light in the darkness.  Hope helps us go through the darkest moments in our life, it gives us the courage to see things through. It instils in us positivity of thought. It makes us believe no matter how bad the situation we are in, if we continue to work towards our goals and believe in our hearts that the work will bear results , we are bound to achieve what we set out to do. Hope provides us with the resolve to weather the harshest storms, it gives us strength and the power of perseverance. There is a saying in Hindi that roughly translates to: ‘The world runs on Hope.’ (‘Ummed pe Duniya Kayam Hai’). It can be argued that human evolution both technologically and culturally was achieved on the bedrock of hope. It is hope that has inspired people to dream big, think the unthinkable and conceive the inconceivable in spite of facing ridicule from society and naysayers. The great works of art and the technological advancements throughout history were the result of the indomitable spirit and passion of their creators which sprang from their hope that no matter the circumstances they would be able to realise their dreams. Pessimists did not build the world, and optimism is impossible without hope.   

“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.” ― Pablo Neruda

The only thing constant during our lifetime is change. With change, life can take a turn for the positive where we are happy and things are going our way, but surely as the day turns to night, good times will not last for ever, not even for the most powerful and wealthy among us. The key is to realise this reality and accept it without becoming crestfallen or despondent.  Here the power of positive thoughts and actions play a major role. If we are able to realise that times no matter how adverse is temporary, and focus on the positive aspects of any situation and have the hope that no matter what this too shall pass, it will pass. When times are hard it is easy to give into despair and pessimism. The trick is to look at the situation not as some sort of ordeal or punishment but as a learning experience. There can be no better teacher than a tough time. It is in these situations we face that we discover a resilience and strength in ourselves that we did not know existed. It is in these times that we discover our capacity for hope and belief in ourselves. In is in these situations when we are forced out of our comfort zones that we discover opportunities we did not know existed because we would never have looked for any alternatives if things have been pleasant all along.  For example : Let us say if we lost our job one day due to downsizing at the company and instead of falling into despair , we took this opportunity to nurture some skill within us like painting that we had long ignored or forgotten about due to the work pressure and the daily grind. Now instead of looking for a similar job that we were in, we develop our artistic talents and painting skills and start a small gallery, down the line as our business grows and we are appreciated for our art, we may realise that losing our job was in fact a blessing in disguise and we are happier in our new venture working for ourselves instead of being an employee. 

Life has a way of teaching us that when one door closes, another opens. To be aware about the proverbial another door requires belief in oneself and knowing that we are tougher than our circumstances. This awareness arises from hope, hope for a better tomorrow, and hope for a better us.  In this book we will go through the lives and times of people who never gave up hope and how this hope enabled them to realise their dreams when their dreams seemed impossible, especially when their dreams seemed impossible.