This collection of resources on the subject of Hope and Optimism has been extensively curated to empower your journey through learning hope. Both is a deep well in theory, and a priceless skill in practice. This page can serve you as a directory to tools throughout the web, aside from our own section on Hope. Enjoy!
Rick Snyder “was an American psychologist who specialized in positive psychology. He was a Wright Distinguished Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Kansas and editor of the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. Snyder was internationally known for his work at the interface of clinical, social, personality and health psychology. His theories pertained to how people react to personal feedback, the human need for uniqueness, the ubiquitous drive to excuse transgressions and, most recently, the hope motive.”
Shane Lopez “was a psychologist who worked as a senior scientist for Gallup and as research director of The Don Clifton Strengths Institute. He was also a fellow of the American Psychological Association. His research focused on hope which aims to show that investing in one’s future reaps immediate rewards. Lopez was also a vocal advocate for a psychological reform of America’s education system with the goal of aiding schools to operate in a manner that encourages dynamic development and enables students to achieve meaningful futures that they desire. His research studies the relationship between hope, strengths development, academic success and general well-being. A great deal of his research specializes in hope and strengths enhancement for students from preschool through college graduation.”
Jerome Groopman “has been a staff writer in medicine and biology for The New Yorker since 1998. He is also the Dina and Raphael Recanati Chair of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Chief of Experimental Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and author of five books, all written for a general audience.” (Wikipedia)
Barbara Fredrickson “is an American professor in the department of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is the Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology. She is also the Principal Investigator of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Lab (PEPLab) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Fredrickson is a social psychologist who conducts research in emotions and positive psychology. Her main work is related to her broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions, which suggests that positive emotions lead to novel, expansive, or exploratory behavior, and that, over time, these actions lead to meaningful, long-term resources such as knowledge and social relationships.” (Wikipedia)
Martin Seligman “ is an American psychologist, educator, and author of self-help books. Seligman is a strong promoter within the scientific community of his theories of positive psychology and of well-being. His theory of learned helplessness is popular among scientific and clinical psychologists.” (Wikipedia)
Tali Sharot “is a Professor of cognitive neuroscience in the department of Experimental Psychology at University College London… Sharot is known for her research on the neural basis of emotion, decision making and optimism. Sharot hopes to better understand these processes to enhance overall well-being.” (Wikipedia)
Dedicated to spreading the practice of Hope:
- Hopeful Minds “Hopeful Minds is a project developed by iFred, the International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression. It is based on research that suggests hope is teachable (a skill). The aim is to equip students, teachers, and parents with the tools they need to define, learn, and grow a hopeful mindset and prevent hopelessness around the world.”
- Hope & Optimism “The Hope and Optimism initiative was a $5 million, four-year grant at Notre Dame, Cornell, and the University of Pennsylvania. The project explored the theoretical, empirical, and practical dimensions of hope, optimism, and related states.”
- OptionB is a website dedicated to helping people build resilience. It has a rich collection of personal stories about overcoming hardship, a community to promote connection, and resources for learning about and developing resilience.
- The Hope Line Founded over 25 years ago by youth speaker and radio host, Dawson McAllister, they have heard the struggles people face and learned how to offer life-changing support. Their mission is to reach, rescue and restore those who are broken and hopeless. They encourage people in the midst of their struggles by providing clear thinking and right values through a variety of resources.
Inspiring Charity or Activist Organization doing Hopeful Work
- Hope World Wide “HOPE worldwide is an international charity that changes lives through the compassion and commitment of dedicated staff and volunteers to deliver sustainable, high-impact, community-based services to the poor and needy.”
- HOPE Strong “Our mission is to increase the graduation rate among Hispanic high school students through leadership, education, and community service. We provide students with a community of like-minded individuals who will encourage, challenge, and motivate each other to achieve academic and professional success.”
- Hope International “We believe families in poverty have the God-given talents and skills to provide for their families. What they don’t have is a lump sum of money to invest in their potential—by paying school fees, saving for the future, or investing in businesses.”
- Project HOPE “Founded in 1958, Project HOPE is a renowned global health and humanitarian relief organization. Our lifesaving work addresses the world’s greatest public health challenges, transforming lives and uplifting communities.”
- PEP Lab The Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory: “We study people’s emotions, particularly their positive emotions. We are interested in how positive emotions affect people’s thinking patterns, social behavior, health, and physiological reactions. Our ultimate goal is to understand how positive emotions might accumulate and compound to transform people’s lives for the better.”
- PositivityRatio.com From Barbara Fredrickson, this website features the work from her book “The Positivty Ratio” and offers tools for flourishing in your life.
- Opt for Optimism A financial website developed by Frost Bank, Opt for Optimism features research, stories, and tools regarding the impact of Optimism on finances and lifestyle.
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** No star indicates Additional Resources
Books On the Science of Hope and Optimism
Making Hope Happen: Create the Future You Want for Yourself and Others by Shane Lopez
This is an excellent book to get a broad overview of the science of Hope and how one can work it into their lives. Lopez writes in an accessible way, provides tons of examples, and offers many resources.
The Psychology of Hope: You Can Get Here from There by Rick Snyder
Rick Snyder developed Hope Theory. In this book, he lays out his research, examples, and resources for cultivating Hope, as well as its potential impacts on a larger scale.
The Optimism Bias by Tali Sharot
An excellent work describing how Optimism developed as a strategy for humankind, this book will help you understand the value of positive expectation from a broader perspective.
Rethinking Positivity by Gabrielle Oettingen
Oettingen pioneered an interesting investigation into the impact of imagining and planning for obstacles. This book offers the invaluable tool of WOOP, explaining how and why it works, while giving exercises for you to put it into practice.
Positivity by Barbara Fredrickson
Fredrickson is a leading researcher on the science of positive emotions. This accessible book explains how they perpetuate themselves and offers strategies for raising your Positivity Ratio.
Nonfictional Books on the Impacts of Hope and Optimism on Society
Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress by Steven Pinker
Chock full of cutting edge statistics, Enlightenment Now takes the courageous stance of claiming that we are better off than we ever have been. Pinker constructs strong arguments backed by extensive research to support his claims.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
One of the most influential books on determining meaning. Viktor Frankl speaks about how he and others were able to survive a concentration camp, offering that we have the power to choose what we think.
Everything is Fucked: A Book About Hope by Mark Manson
While Manson can be aggressive and tends to disregard using actual science to support his philosophical claims about psychology, culture, and society, he still manages to make some interesting points in this book. One that sticks out from Everything is Fucked is the idea of anti-fragility.
A Paradise Built in Hell by Rebecca Solnit
Solnit has become an inspirational and powerful voice in the modern cultural climate. This work explores human nature in the face of calamity in an uplifting and hopeful way.
The Optimists Telescope: Thinking Ahead in a Reckless Age by Bina Venkataraman
While not a book directly about Hope, Vankataraman expands on various case studies to illustrate the value of planning ahead. An interesting read for cultural insight to the nature of immediate gratification and the will to invest in the future.
Fostering Resilience and Well-Being in Children and Families in Poverty: Why Hope Still Matters by Valerie Malholmes
This book explores “the mechanisms and processes that enable children and families to manage and overcome adversity. …Maholmes introduces the concept of “hope” as a primary construct for understanding how the effects of poverty can be ameliorated.”
Learning How to Hope: Reviving Democracy through our Schools and Civil Society by Sarah Stitzlein
In light of an increasingly cynical and divided democratic nation, Stitzlein explains Hope’s role and advocates for teaching it.
Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit
A book “written to counter the despair of activists at a moment when they were focused on their losses and had turned their back to the victories behind them—and the unimaginable changes soon to come. In it, [Solnit] makes a radical case for hope as a commitment to act in a world whose future remains uncertain and unknowable.”
Hope in the Age of Anxiety: A Guide to Understanding and Strengthening our Most Important Virtue by Anthony Scioli and Henry Biller
“Hope in the Age of Anxiety is meant to be a definitive guide. The evolutionary, biological, and cultural roots of hope are covered along with the seven kinds of hope found in the world’s religions. Just as vital, the book provides many personal tools for addressing the major challenges of the human condition…”
Motivational, Inspirational and Goal-guidance Books
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change By Steven R. Covey
This book has become a cultural phenomenon for a reason! Highly Effective People engage in hopeful practices. Check out the book to see how.
The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life by Bernard Roth
“In The Achievement Habit, Roth applies the remarkable insights that stem from design thinking—previously used to solve large scale projects—to help us realize the power for positive change we all have within us.”
Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration edited by Rose Brock
“Some of today’s most influential young adult authors come together in this highly personal collection of essays and original stories that offer moments of light in the darkness, and show that hope is a decision we all can make.”
Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo
“It’s more than just a fun phrase to say. It’s a philosophy of relentless optimism. A mindset. A mantra. A conviction.” Everything is Figureoutable is a guide to achieving your goals by changing your mindset.
Conscious Luck: Eight Secrets to Intentionally Change Your Fortune by Gay Hendricks PH.D. and Carol Kline
Conscious Luck explores how choosing to be Lucky can actually generate the life you’ve always wanted.
Stories with the Theme of Hope (a few suggestions)
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
“Set in the rich farmland of California’s Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families—the Trasks and the Hamiltons—whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.”
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Great Expectations “charts the course of orphan Pip Pirrip’s life as it is transformed by a vast, mysterious inheritance. …Charles Dickens’s haunting late novel depicts Pip’s education and development through adversity as he discovers the true nature of his identity, and his ‘great expectations’.”
Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
“An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.”
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
“In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life.”
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
“The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men in its population.”
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
“…the story of an old Cuban fisherman and his supreme ordeal: a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Using the simple, powerful language of a fable, Hemingway takes the timeless themes of courage in the face of defeat and personal triumph won from loss and transforms them into a magnificent twentieth-century classic.”
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
“At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.”
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes – Eleanor Coerr
“The star of her school’s running team, Sadako is lively and athletic…until the dizzy spells start. Then she must face the hardest race of her life—the race against time. Based on a true story, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes celebrates the courage that makes one young woman a heroine in Japan.“
What are Hope and Optimism and how do they work?
The Science of Optimism: How Your Outlook Predicts Your Lifespan – Sociologist William Magee explains his research conclusions that Optimists live longer than Pessimists despite age, gender, economic standing or ethnicity.
- Tali Sharot: The optimism bias | TED Talk “Are we born to be optimistic, rather than realistic? Tali Sharot shares new research that suggests our brains are wired to look on the bright side — and how that can be both dangerous and beneficial.”
- “How can we help our future selves?” | Hal Hershfield | TEDxEast – “Through his research Hal Hershfield helps us take a look at our future selves and how we may be able to better attend to the decisions we make today so we are anticipating what we may need in years to come.”
- Caroline Webb on Realistic Optimism “Economist and former McKinsey partner Caroline Webb shows how to use findings from behavioural economics, psychology, and neuroscience to transform our approach to everyday working life.”
- Viktor Frankl, “Man Alive,” In this video from a 1977 documentary, Viktor Frankl talks about how Hope relates to survival.
On Pessimism and Progress
Hans Rosling on why most of the world is better off than you think – In this brief interview Hans Rosling explains why despite global inequalities, most of the world is better off than you think – and better off than it has ever been before.
Peter Diamandis: Abundance is our future | TED Talk “Peter Diamandis makes a case for optimism — that we’ll invent, innovate and create ways to solve the challenges that loom over us. ‘I’m not saying we don’t have our set of problems; we surely do. But ultimately, we knock them down.’”
David Deutsch on Optimism “In this excerpt from the event ‘Optimism, Knowledge and the Future of Enlightenment’, physicist David Deutsch explores the theme of optimism as a force for 21st century progress.”
- HopeOptimism Initiative Video Contest The HopeOptimism Initiative funded a creative campaign for short films that explore the role of hope in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Check them out here!
- Whether You Believe You Can or Believe You Can’t, You’re Probably Right! Athlete and motivational speaker Kyle Maynard speaks about his goals and process of approaching them despite his physical limitations.
- Mary Latham: More Good Mary Latham collects stories of kindness.
- Young Adult Persists, Gets Help for Hodgkin Lymphoma Katie Dimmock was committed to finding answers about her health complications and her persistence likely saved her life. If she had not had hope that an answer could be found, she may not have received the treatment that is saving her life.
- Overcoming hopelessness | Nick Vujicic | TEDxNoviSad Nic Vujicic, a man born without arms or legs, speaks about living life with Hope.
Colleen Kelly Alexander: A Story of Resilience
Athlete Colleen Alexander survived a horrendous accident on her bike. Her practical commitment to recovery and positive attitude contributed to her healing.
Transcending addiction and redefining recovery: Jacki Hillios at TEDxBoulder
Jacki Hillios talks about patients with addiction and her work with Phoenix Multisport, an organisation that fosters recovery through engagement and connection that foster hope for the future.
Initiatives, Stories, and Personal Conversations of Hope
- Making a Difference Where You Live “is a collaboration between KSMU and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. This quarterly series explores the impact of volunteerism and philanthropy on community needs.”
- In Our Time from BBC: Hope “Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the philosophy of hope. To the ancient Greeks, hope was closer to self-deception, one of the evils left in Pandora’s box or jar, in Hesiod’s story. In Christian tradition, hope became one of the theological virtues, the desire for divine union and the expectation of receiving it, an action of the will rather than the intellect. To Kant, ‘what may I hope’ was one of the three basic questions which human reason asks, while Nietzsche echoed Hesiod, arguing that leaving hope in the box was a deception by the gods, reflecting human inability to face the demands of existence. Yet even those critical of hope, like Camus, conceded that life was nearly impossible without it.”
- On Being with Krista Tippett – Grace Lee Boggs: A Century in the World “Chinese-American philosopher and civil rights legend Grace Lee Boggs turned 100 this summer. She has been at the heart and soul of a largely hidden story inside Detroit’s evolution from economic collapse to rebirth. We traveled in 2011 to meet her and her community of joyful, passionate people reimagining work, food, and the very meaning of humanity. They have lessons for us all.
- On Being with Krista Tippett – Maria Tatar – The Great Cauldron of Story: Why Fairy Tales Are for Adults Again “Fairy tales don’t only belong to the domain of childhood. Their overt themes are threaded throughout hit TV series like Game of Thrones and True Blood, Grimm and Once Upon a Time. These stories survive, says Maria Tatar, by adapting across cultures and history. They are carriers of the plots we endlessly re-work in the narratives of our lives — helping us work through things like fear and hope.”
- Rebecca Solnit- Falling Together. “When all the ordinary divides and patterns are shattered, people step up to become their brothers’ keepers,” Rebecca Solnit writes. “And that purposefulness and connectedness bring joy even amidst death, chaos, fear, and loss.” In this moment of global crisis, we’re returning to the conversations we’re longing to hear again and finding useful right now. A singular writer and thinker, Solnit celebrates the unpredictable and incalculable events that so often redeem our lives, both solitary and public. She searches for the hidden, transformative histories inside and after events we chronicle as disasters in places like post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans.”
- Can Teaching ‘Hope’ Revive Democracy? The EdSurge podcast is a podcast that focuses on the future of Education. This episode interviews professor of education Sarah Stitzlein on her new book, “Learning How to Hope: Reviving Democracy through our Schools and Civil Society” and explores the potential political impacts of teaching Hope in our schools.
- Terry Tempest Williams: Finding Beauty in a Broken World. “Tami Simon speaks with Terry Tempest Williams, a writer, naturalist, environmental activist, and author of several books including Finding Beauty in a Broken World and an original audio adaptation of the book, published by Sounds True.”
- What Disasters Reveal About Hope and Humanity – In this podcast for WBUR, Rebecca Solnit speaks to the Corona Virus Pandemic.
About Hope and Optimism
- +1: #325 The Psychology of Hope Brian Johnson from OPTIMIZE dives into the psychology of Hope, explaining the nitty gritty of the Ways, the Will, and the Pathways of Hope.
- THE PSYCHOLOGY PODCAST187: The Latest Science of Growth Mindset Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman interviews Dr. Carol Dweck on the latest developments with Growth Mindset.
- THE PSYCHOLOGY PODCAST20: Hope, the Future and Flourishing Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman interviews Dr. Shane Lopez on Hope: “One of the world’s foremost experts on hope, self-proclaimed “hopemonger” Shane Lopez, sheds light on the incredible impact hope can have in our lives. We chat about flourishing, narratives of our future, passion and how hope may predict job and school success. There are some compelling statistics here that we hope will get you focused on cultivating… more hope!”
- THE PSYCHOLOGY PODCAST165: Hope is Fucked Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman interviews author Mark Manson on his latest book, “Everything is Fucked: A Book About Hope.”
- Science Weekly podcast: Do optimism and pessimism shape our destiny? “Professor Elaine Fox discusses her book Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain which explores the science of optimism and pessimism.”
- Hope, Through History – Welcome to Hope, Through History, with Pulitzer Prize Winning and Best Selling Author and Historian, Jon Meacham and directed and produced by Cadence13. HTH explores some of the most historic and trying times in American History, and how this nation dealt with these moments, the impact of these moments and how we came through these moments a unified nation.
- The Shawshank Redemption – Framed for murder, upstanding banker Andy Dufresne begins a new life at the Shawshank prison and gradually forms a close bond with older inmate Red. His hope drives him to remarkable actions.
- The Pursuit of Happyness – Life is a struggle for single father Chris Gardner. Evicted from their apartment, he and his young son find themselves alone with no place to go. Even though Chris eventually lands a job as an intern at a prestigious brokerage firm, the position pays no money. The pair must live in shelters and endure many hardships, but Chris refuses to give in to despair as he struggles to create a better life for himself and his son.
- Matilda – Matilda Wormwood is an exquisite and intelligent little girl. Unfortunately, Matilda is misunderstood by her family because she is very different from their ways of life. As time passes, Matilda finally starts school that has a kindly teacher, loyal friends and a sadistic principal. She showcases her resilience throughout the story, focusing on confronting challenges and hoping for the best.
- Freedom Writers – A dedicated teacher (Hilary Swank) in a racially divided Los Angeles school has a class of at-risk teenagers deemed incapable of learning. Instead of giving up, she inspires her students to take an interest in their education and planning their future.
- October Sky – A young man from a young town dreams of becoming a rocket scientist and dedicates himself to the pursuit of his dreams.
- Dead Poets Society – An English teacher at a private school inspires his students to approach their lives passionately and openly through his teaching of poetry.
- Lord Of The Rings Trilogy – In the epic fantasy trilogy based on the works of J. R. Tolkein, we see the power of hope and determination in survival, thriving, and saving Middle Earth.
- The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio – “Graced with a rare appreciation for life’s inherent hilarity, Evelyn turned every financial challenge into an opportunity for fun and profit. The story of this irrepressible woman… is told… with an infectious joy that shows how a winning spirit will always triumph over poverty.”
- Pompeii- Bastille YouTube | Genius
- Johnny Nash – I Can See Clearly Now YouTube | Genius
- Imagine – John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band YouTube | Genius
- Somewhere over the Rainbow – Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole Youtube | Genius
- Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water Youtube | Genius
- Three Days Grace – Never Too Late YouTube | Genius
- Accentuate the Positive- Bing Crosby YouTube | Genius
- Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’ YouTube | Genius
- Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger YouTube | Genius
- Des’ree – You Gotta Be You Tube | Genius
- Daniel Powter – Bad Day YouTube | Genius
- MUSE – Dig Down YouTube | Genius
- Stevie Wonder – Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing YouTube | Genius
- Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind YouTube | Genius
- Paul McCartney-Great Day YouTube | Genius
- Louis Armstrong – What a wonderful world YouTube | Genius
- 123456 – Fitz and the Tantrums YouTube | Genius
- Dream On – Aerosmith YouTube | Genius
- Mariah Carey – There’s Got to Be a Way YouTube | Genius
- Elvis Presley – If I Can Dream YouTube | Genius
- Bill Withers – Lovely Day YouTube | Genius
- Frank Sinatra – The Best Is Yet to Come YouTube | Genius
- Panic! at the Disco – High Hopes YouTube | Genius
- Lee Ann Womack – I Hope You Dance YouTube | Genius
- CAKE – The Distance YouTube | Genius
- Demi Lovato – Skyscraper YouTube | Genius
- Incubus – Drive YouTube | Genius
- Kirk Franklin – I Smile YouTube | Genius
- Maino – All the Above YouTube | Genius
- Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive YouTube | Genius
- Destiny’s Child – Survivor YouTube | Genius
- Jack Johnson and Ben Harper – With My Own Two Hands YouTube | Genius
- Alabama Shakes – Hold On YouTube | Genius
- Crowded House – Don’t Dream It’s Over YouTube | Genius
- A Change Is Gonna Come- Sam Cooke YouTube | Genius
The Science of Hope
The following articles do an excellent job explaining the psychological research behind Hope and how it works.
Hope and Optimism
This collection of articles explore the key differences between Hope and Optimism
- What’s the Difference Between Optimism and Hope? Both are beneficial, but they affect our life outcomes in different ways. Utpal Dholakia Ph.D. with Psychology Today
- Hope vs. Optimism: Which One Do You Need to Succeed? from BigThink
- Hope and Optimism Research Articles Collection from Positive Psychology News
- The Will and Ways of Hope Hope involves the will to get there, and different ways to get there. Scott Barry Kaufman for Psychology Today
- Hope, Optimism and Resiliency: The Three Most Powerful Leadership Tools You Can Have As An Entrepreneur Dr. Melodena Stephens Balakrishnan for Entrepreneur
- Why Being Hopeful Rather Than Optimistic Will Make You a Better Student from BigThink
Articles on Pessimism and Negativity
A few selections on the positive and negative powers of Pessimism.
- The Upside of Pessimism – The theory of defensive pessimism suggests that imagining—and planning for—worst-case scenarios can be more effective than trying to think positively.
- How to Overcome Your Brain’s Fixation on Bad Things A new book reveals how the negativity bias operates in our lives and what we can do about it. Jill Sutie with Greater Good Berkeley
- Looking good by being negative (and hurting your team) a short excerpt from the blog of Dave Shearan
The Social Impacts of Hope and Optimism
The following articles explore how Hope and Optimism relate to relationships, leadership, and business.
- The Power of Hope is Real Nicholas Kristof with The New York Times
- The Economic Power and Pitfalls of Positive Thinking from the Duke Fuqua School of Business
- The Role of Adult Mentorship in Helping Children Deal With Trauma – Strong, positive relationships with at-risk youth can give them much-needed feelings of competence. Jessica Lahey with The Atlantic
- How Entrepreneurs Create High-Hope Environments – Six Themes for Leadership Behavior from the Graziadio Business Review
What is Resilience, and what is its role in Hope? These articles talk about elements of Resilience and how they relate to cultivating Hope.
- Seven Ways to Feel More in Control of Your Life Developing greater agency can help you make important life decisions and feel less overwhelmed, stuck, and lost. Anthony Rao and Paul Napper for Greater Good Berkeley
- Are You Mentally Tough? “One of the first descriptions of mental toughness was made by sports psychologist James Loeher. Based on his extensive work with elite athletes and coaches, he proposed seven dimensions of mental toughness that he argued are developed: self-confidence, attention control, minimizing negative energy, increasing positive energy, maintaining motivation levels, attitude control, and visual and imagery control.” Scientific American
- Turning Lives Around With Hope Valerie Maholmes’s research points to the importance of fostering hope and resilience among poor families. Stacy Lu for the American Psychological Association
Criticism of Grit, Mindset, and Optimism
Grit and Growth Mindset are ideas that interweave with Hope in various ways- and both concepts are nuanced. The following collection explores criticism of these ideas (as well as Optimism) often in the context of education.
- The Problem With Grit Jal Mehta for Education Week
- The Limits of “Grit” David Denby for The New Yorker
- What’s Wrong with Grit? Schools are exploring how to foster—and even grade—perseverance and passion. But before we take grit too far, we need to remember how little we know about it. Vicki Zakrzewski for Greater Good Berkeley
- The growth mindset problem A generation of schoolchildren is being exhorted to believe in their brain’s elasticity. Does it really help them learn? Carl Hendrick for Aeon
- The Myth of the Optimism Bias? Discover magazine
- The Dark Side of American Optimism And the bright side of rising pessimism about the American Dream. Derek Thomson for The Atlantic
The Science of Optimism
The following articles delve into the nuances of Optimism in psychology, how it works, and what it’s impacts are.
- Yes, Optimism Can Make You Happier — but It’s All About How You Use It We tend to think of optimists as people who always paint a rosy picture and see the positive in things. That’s not always the case. Haley Browns for Thrive Global
- The Biggest Misconceptions Of Optimists A smile doesn’t always mean happiness. Melody DeRogatis with Odyssey
- Look on the Bright Side: The Science of Optimism Dr Elizabeth Hopper with Healthy Psych
- Brain Science Reveals The Striking Power Of Optimism for Forbes
- When Adversity Strikes, Optimism Helps Us Get Through – It leads to effective coping, attentional bias & substitutes for social support Utpal Dholakia Ph.D. with Psychology Today
- 4 Reasons Why an Optimistic Outlook Is Good for Your Health Healthier actions, more effective coping, and social support are all pathways. Utpal Dholakia Ph.D. with Psychology Today
- How Optimism May Keep You Alive Longer – A new study suggests that optimism might be a secret to longevity. Kira A. Newman with Greater Good Berkeley
- How Hope and Optimism Affects Romantic Relationships Optimism may be quantifiably keeping marriages together, especially after the so-called honeymoon period ends. From BigThink
- The Power of Hope, and Recognizing When It’s Hopeless Hope can alter how you view yourself. Mary C Lamia for Psychology Today
- How to Help Students Develop Hope According to research, hope is key to academic achievement–and it’s a skill students can develop over time. Here’s how. Vicki Zakrzewski for Greater Good Berkeley
- Select The Right People – Zappos “Are You Lucky?” The optimistic view point of being a “lucky person” may impact how you work, and Zappos hires accordingly. Douglas A Wick
- The Luck Factor A ten-year scientific study into the nature of luck has revealed that, to a large extent, people make their own good and bad fortune. The results also show that it is possible to enhance the amount of luck that people encounter in their lives.
- Cultivating Hope An article that focuses on Hope in adolescence and how to cultivate it at that time in our lives.
- 5 Reasons Why We Need More Fairy Tales and Fables in Our Life NA Turner for Medium explains how fairy tales teach us Hope.
- The Importance of Fairy Tales Fairy tales showcase human universals, including Hope. Odyssey
- Strengthening Resilience Through The Power Of Story Stories have the power to teach us about Hope and Resilience. Medium
- To Be Better at Planning, Get to Know Your Future Self ‘Self-continuity’ is an underrated but vital decision-making strategy. This article showcases how relating to future-you impacts what you do today.
Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth – 1948 This painting was based on Wyeth’s neighbor who developed a degenerative disease at a young age. Despite her inability to walk, she refused to use a wheelchair and insisted on crawling and pulling herself to her destinations. Wyeth wanted to honor her tenacious spirit, claiming, “The challenge to me was to do justice to her extraordinary conquest of a life which most people would consider hopeless.”
Hope II by Gustav Klimt – 1908 features a pregnant woman bowing her head towards her belly, expectant of the life to come.
Hope by George Frederic Watts – A piece completed in 1886 and reflective of a culture going through a philosophical shift that questioned that value of pursuing Hopes due to new doubts in the certainty of God or purpose, this painting has inspired speeches by Martin Luther King Jr and Barak Obama.
More Story Sources
Including the stories from our videos section, the following collections offer more insights into personal journeys of Hope.
- Humans Of New York is a blog that includes interviews of strangers from around the world. Almost all stories included have a theme of Hope in them.
- OptionB is a website dedicated to helping people build resilience. It has a rich collection of personal stories about overcoming hardship, a community to promote connection, and resources for learning about and developing resilience.
- 10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On
- 10 Inspirational & Successful People Who Did Not Let Failure Define Them