During the thirteenth century, King Frederick, head of the Holy Roman Empire, conducted a most unusual experiment. He wondered what language a child would learn to speak if no one ever spoke to the infant. A large number of babies and newborns were gathered, and it was decreed that their caretakers would only feed and clothe them, without ever speaking a word to them or around them. Unfortunately for King Frederick, his questions went unanswered, because not one of those poor children lived to tell the tale in any language. Why? The simple answer is that they lived their short lives without something we all desperately need to live and thrive: hope.

The fact is that human beings cannot live without some form of recognition, some sense of hope. Hal Lindsey quipped, “Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air…but only for one second without hope.”

Tom Malone, President of Milliken and Company, emphasized this point when he reflected on his college years: “I played football in college. I wasn't very big—only 150 pounds—and I wasn't very good. I got hurt a lot. I broke my arm once, my neck once, and my nose six times. When I tell people about it, they always ask me, ‘Why did you keep doing it?’ For the longest time, I had no answer. Then one day it hit me. If there hadn't been any fans in the stands cheering me on—my family and friends—I wouldn’t have kept on playing and trying so hard. But there were, so I did.”

Hopeful people see promise and live with purpose. They look at situations differently from those sad souls who lack hope. They see the light rather than focusing on the dark. It is hope that inspires them to move purposefully forward, making progress toward their goals and ambitions. Hope drives them every day and compels them to take the actions required to change their situation or achieve their goals, no matter how lofty.


There are three ways we can find and keep hope, even while we’re maneuvering through difficult circumstances: 
  1. Know God. Attending church, praying, giving, and reading the Bible are positive things, and they will provide you with a great deal of hope. According to a Gallop poll, Americans who attend church frequently experience more positive emotions and less negativity in general than those who attend less often or not at all. As reported, frequent churchgoers experience an average of 3.36 positive emotions per day, as compared to an average of 3.08 among those who never attend. This relationship holds true even when controlling for key demographic variables like age, education, and income. If you want your hope to grow, plant yourself in a pew! 
  2. Help others. Zig Ziglar was a wise man who said wise things, one of which was, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” According to TIME Magazine, volunteering to do good and help others pays off. Visiting the sick, feeding the hungry, and chairing that committee no one else wants to touch are morally admirable efforts, but even beyond that, being selfless can also be good for you, body and soul, and even help you to lead a happier, healthier, more hopeful, and longer life.
  3. Pretend you're going on vacation tomorrow. How do you feel the last work day right before a long-awaited vacation? If you’re like most people, that hope for a beautiful time of rest and relaxation makes you feel determined, giving you a burst of energy to get things done and tie up the loose ends, and nothing can get you down. You cheerfully work harder than usual to get things ready for your trip and to arrange for everything to continue smoothly while you are gone. In fact, good or bad, for many people, the day before leaving on vacation is often their most productive day of the year. Look forward to tomorrow with hope, and your today will run much more smoothly!
It has been said that “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” (Shawshank Redemption) I’d have to agree. As business owners, we’re the fans in the stands for our teammates, our employees, our customers, our friends, and relatives, and it’s our job to keep hope alive.

Carry On!

Greg McAfee
Greg McAfee
HVAC Business Consultant