United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned last week that “With people from all points of the globe crying out for relief and hope, international action on major challenges – from climate to conflict and securing sustainable development – is paralyzed by dysfunction and held hostage to geopolitical tensions.” he went on call on the world to “overcome divisions and provide hope in a place of turmoil.”
It is wonderful to see world leaders beginning to promote the importance of hope. Yet while this call for hope is commendable, it lacks one important component: it doesn’t teach people the “how-to” of hope. We cannot just tell people to be hopeful; we must give them the skills they need to create, maintain, and grow hope.
Guterres went on to say, “Our world is in peril and paralyzed by political divides that were undermining the work of the Security Council, international law, trust and people’s faith in democratic institutions, and all forms of international cooperation.”
Guterres clearly identifies the two ingredients of hopelessness: peril (emotional despair) and paralysis (motivational helplessness). When you experience hopelessness, you are forced into flight, fight, freeze, or fawn mode, and you cannot access the problem-solving, rationality, and positive feelings of hope. When you are in a persistent state of hopelessness, you are more likely to turn to harmful behaviors, such as violence, addiction, and suicide.
It is why we MUST start educating on the “how-to” of hope. Hope is a learnable, teachable skill that can be activated on the individual, community, and global levels. Individuals can use the Five Keys to SHINE for Hope to activate hope in their daily routines. Communities can utilize hope initiatives, such as the Hopeful Cities Playbook, to spread hope community-wide. Governments can work together to issue proclamations, fund hope campaigns, promote the International Day of Hope, and spread hope around the world.
Today, help us answer Guterres’ call to hope by:
- Purchasing the Hopeful Minds curriculums for your local school, after-school program, or Boys and Girls club, or downloading for free.
- Encouraging your government officials to join the Hopeful Cities Movement by issuing a proclamation, or having your Country Ambassador support our UN Resolution for an International Day of Hope.
- Planting sunflowers or creating a sunflower mural to spread the message of hope.
- Activating hope in your home or workplace using the Five Keys to SHINE for Hope.
You can find out more about the power of hope, the impact of hopelessness, and the Science of Hope at www.ifred.org.