anxious OR hopeful?


Do you want extreme uneasiness of mind OR to cherish a desire with anticipation?  When I read these definitions out loud they prompted remarkably different feelings in me.

I was once was told that worrying is a prayer for something bad to happen.

If that’s true, than hope is a prayer for something good to happen, right?

—Author Edwin H. Friedman in “A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of a Quick Fix” wrote:

“…the climate of contemporary America has become so chronically anxious that our society has gone into emotional regression that is toxic to well-defined leadership.”

“…chronic anxiety that characterizes the emotional processes of contemporary American civilization influences our thoughts and our leaders toward safety and certainty rather than boldness and adventure.”

This book is a remarkable read about leadership in contemporary America—Business‚ Government, Coaching, Teaching, Clergy & Parenting.  The central idea is that any system requiring leadership with way too much anxiety becomes static, lacks innovation and is unable to seek out creative solutions.  In my heart I desire boldness and adventure over safety and certainty.  In my life I get racked with worry and anxiety, but I have a choice as to what I hold closer to my heart.  We always have a choice.

Holding onto our anxiety is easy right now, it’s being spoon fed to us 24 hours a day.

I have hope in the innovation of the next generation.  I have hope in science to spark cures for disease, find unique ways to educate our children, protect our climate and invent really cool new ways to do things.  I have hope that we can listen to each other.  I have hope that we don’t constantly fear those who are different than us.  I have hope that our better angels will emerge.

We actually do have a choice to make between being ANXIOUS or HOPEFUL.

My bet is on HOPE.  Without it, we’re screwed.

2 thoughts on “anxious OR hopeful?

  1. Another topical and contemporary piece Lisa, well done.

    Having the “Anxious ” feeling, is a little bit misunderstood also. It is quite possible to continue with “Hopeful ” feelings, whilst being anxious about certain outcomes.
    Sometimes we confuse thinking with worrying and this is a blight on the future capabilities and skill-sets of our children.
    Worrying and being anxious can build as a habit should it be not kept in check, but thinking is a completely different process.

    My mother died recently and amongst her papers was this very old inspirational work from Robert Burns:-
    “Hope is the cordial of the human heart and
    I endeavour to cherish it as well as I can”

    • I always appreciate your thoughtfulness and insight. I’m so sorry about your mother. That Robert Burns quote is something to hold onto…beautiful. Thank you for that. I knew this piece needed more nuance to be better understood. In America right now there is so much general stress and anxiety that you can feel it all the time. It requires serious mindfulness to be hopeful when the rhetoric is so dark and divisive. There’s chaos and a very bizarre religious fervor in the air here. I’m trying to stay calm, centered and not be constantly reactive. I’ve never witnessed anything like it…so I wanted to write about the power and necessity of hope.

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