Nothing inspires hope quite like a new year. An optimistic state of mind inspired by an expectation of positive outcomes is encouraging and refreshing. Hope renews the human spirit and keeps us forward looking for something better to come. I love that Aristotle said, “Hope is a waking dream,” a beautiful description of hope.

Unfortunately, for many, hope expires easily. By the end of January, many have forgotten or have given up on their new year resolutions because they did not act upon their hope. It’s not only resolutions, goals and dreams extinguish quickly as we see no quick or apparent success after a very short time. What many fail to understand is that results come when we have hope backed by action. This is a principle my father drilled into me at a very young age. “Don’t wait for your ship to come in if you never sent one out to begin with,” he would often say. Hope without action is like hoping you win the million-dollar lottery if you haven’t bought a ticket or hoping to graduate from college if you never enroll.

The two poles of the human experience are hope and hopelessness.

Those who move closest to the pole of hope through their actions are more likely to have their dreams realized, while those who sit and wait, will only get what is left behind by the doers. There is a very simple, easy to understand theory that says …

Action causes reaction.

Do something and something happens. Do nothing and well … you can figure out the rest of the story. Acting is a necessary component of realizing your dreams. You hope to get an A on the exam? You better show up to class and crack open your books at night. You hope to grow your business? You better have a viable written plan and act daily to make it so. You want to get a raise? You better perform on the job in a way that makes your boss wonder how the company could ever survive without you. Out of work and need a job? Change the way you look at it. Your job is to find the job you want and need. Get up, get dressed and work at it eight to ten hours a day. If you have hope and you are taking action …

Act as if!

Success rarely comes without belief in advance of the success of your dream. Most people say, “Things have to be seen to be believed.” I’ve always felt different. I say, “Things have to be believed to be seen!” Really … if you can’t believe it in advance, how can you make it so? You must believe to achieve.

When there is hope in the present, there is faith in the future.

While writing this column, I ran across a social media posting by Mark A. Smith. I don’t know Mark but his post hit home on this issue of hope. Here is what Mark said.

“Twenty-three years ago, my parents and doctor walked into the ICU, held my hands and told me I had a rare disease called Wegener’s Granulomatosis and only had a few months to live. I had eighteen tumors throughout my lungs, kidneys and airways. Sixteen years of chemotherapy, two hundred thousand pills, thirty-four surgeries and a million prayers later, I’m still around to annoy everyone on LinkedIn!” He went on to share what he learned during his ordeal. I don’t have room to list it all, but one item jumped out at me when he wrote,

“A negative attitude is worse than a tumor.”

Mark received devastating news, but held out hope for a life he was told he would lose. He and his doctors took action and left no stone unturned during his treatment to give Mark any and every chance to live. Mark was positive, never lost hope and he beat the odds and defeated his disease. Mark stands as an example of hope, optimism and action, and should inspire us all.

What about you? You may not be facing a devastating illness, but many are facing the death of their dreams. Want to build a successful business or write a novel? Want to change careers and do what you love? Want to read more, travel more or dance more? Maintain hope and breathe life into your dreams through positive actions. It’s never too late. Don’t be afraid to try.

“Let your hearts not be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

Remain hopeful. Be optimistic. Believe in your dreams and act, not stopping until victory is at hand.

Gary W. Moore is a syndicated columnist, speaker and author of three books including the award-winning, critically acclaimed “Playing with the Enemy.” Follow Gary on Twitter @GaryWMoore721 and at www.garywmoore.com.

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