This Week's Character Strength Spotlight is on HOPE

WHAT DOES HOPE MEAN? You expect the best from the future and work to achieve it.

Hope and optimism represent a state of hopefulness and confidence about the future (both short and long term). People with this strength are future oriented. They have a positive vision of what the future holds and maintain confidence that they will get there. They keep a positive attitude despite setbacks – and often find ways to convert what seems like an obstacle into a stepping-stone to achieve their goals.

Optimistic people are sometimes regarded as naïve or even delusional. And, yes, there are some people who are illogically optimistic, which can be detrimental. However, optimism is not about wearing rose-colored glasses and rolling over when the going gets tough. It’s about staying focused on the good in any situation – allowing you to be aware of opportunities and accountable for your emotions.

WHY DOES OPTIMISM MATTER? For individuals, optimism is correlated with success in work and play, mental and physical health, and strong social relationships. Optimistic people are planners and goal setters. Due to their future oriented mindset, they are often hard working, conscientious, and able to overcome obstacles. And, according to academic studies on POWs, optimism is the most important predictor of resilience.

On a group level, optimism is crucial to group success. Optimists are strong leaders. They find meaning in hardship and can create a vision for the future. They look at potential obstacles as opportunities, rather than threats. Without hope and optimism, we would not be able to overcome hardships. We would be stuck where we are. Optimists are inspiring; their example is contagious. And, by sharing and achieving their vision – despite setbacks – they help us all achieve more.

Individuals with this strength are likely to think, feel, or behave in the following ways:

  • Today will be a good day.
  • I have a clear picture in my head of what my future will look like.
  • I set goals for the future.
  • I have faith that I will succeed in the goals that I’ve set.
  • Despite setbacks, I maintain the conviction that the future will be good.
  • It is important to be hopeful towards the future.
  • I like to help other people see a positive vision for their future.


  • “Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear any hardship today.” - THICH NHAT HANH
  • “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” - MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
  • “Hope is the thing with feathers / That perches in the soul / And sings the tune without words / And never stops at all.” - EMILY DICKINSON

For a profound example of hope and optimism, please watch Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

This Week's Prompt

Visualize and write about your best possible self at some point in the future. Clearly see your life positively developed accross three domains - personal, relational, and professional.