Abandon all hope (well, most of it, anyway)


Nope, I ain’t on a downer. Quite the contrary. Hope isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. We usually consider hope to be a good thing. But Hecato of Rhodes (a pretty wise guy circa 100BC) didn’t rate it. He said, “”Cease to hope and you will cease to fear.”

What did he mean by that? Well, I can’t say for sure coz he’s dead and I can’t exactly ask him. But I reckon he meant that hope involves looking into the future, and therefore can lead to worry, as in desperately hoping a given thing will come to pass, or that such and such won’t happen.

And of course, you can’t know what will happen in the future, not even one second ahead. The future isn’t under your control. Naturally some things will work out, but this can never be guaranteed.

Hope is the antithesis of the present moment. And the moment is all you’ve got, which is why it’s worth making the most of it. In fact, being more in the moment is one of the keys to being happy and content in life.

If you allow yourself to hope, you run the risk of starting to worry – as in hoping that this or that will happen in the future, or that something won’t happen.

You want a given thing to occur, and wanting is what causes worry. Fear is very much a by-product of wanting and worry.

You think about the future and want a certain outcome. You hope for it. And worry that an unwanted outcome might happen instead.

That’s why hope is not all it’s cracked up to be. And so personally, I recommend giving up all hope. You’ll be happier if you do.


Jimmy Lee Shreeve View All →

Author and journalist

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