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Why Hope Is the Super-Fuel You Need

The following is an excerpt from Ray Johnston’s book The Hope Quotient.

A few years ago, I had the privilege of meeting with a leading psychologist who told me something amazing. He had built his career around working with deeply troubled married couples who had been damaging their relationships for decades. He enjoyed remarkable success in getting these warring spouses to turn the corner toward health.

Counseling is not my greatest gift, so his obvious skill sparked my curiosity. How did he do it?

“I just try to get 10 percent improvement,” he said. “When they get that 10 percent improvement, they get hope. And when someone gets hope, anything is possible.” 

It’s an amazing thought. When a struggling individual gets just a 10 percent boost in hope, almost anything becomes possible. I looked back over my life and realized that I’ve seen a 10 percent rise in hope transform horrendous situations into amazingly great ones. 

Hope is so potent that you don’t need to get 50 percent more hopeful, or 40 percent, or even 25 percent. Just 10 percent more hope is enough to launch you into a new and better orbit.

That makes hope the highest-octane fuel in the universe.

When you get 10 percent improvement, somebody gets a higher Hope Quotient, and when your HQ is high, anything’s possible. Hope is the beginning of everything.

When people become more hopeful about their health, it starts them on the path to getting in shape.

When people get hopeful about breaking bad habits, they start winning battles they haven’t won before.

When people become more hopeful about their kids, they find new energy to invest in those kids.

When people get hope in their marriages, they start making better decisions.

When people become more hopeful about what their financial futures might be, they begin to develop the patterns that lead to financial freedom.

When people become more hopeful about their futures, that’s the match that lights the fuse that sends them back to school or helps them apply for a new job or helps them grow and develop.

When people become more hopeful that they could actually connect with God, it fuels the kind of actions that lead them to spiritual vitality and health.

Four things hope does that nothing else can do.

Of all the remarkable things I’ve seen hope do in my life and in the lives of others, these four things stand out:

1. Hope liberates. Hope releases you from your past.

What kept Louie Zamperini from plunging off the cliff? There were several he could have gone over. Hope stopped his fall. Hope liberates people from the chains that imprison them. It sets them free from past failures and hurts, dysfunctional family patterns, guilt, low expectations and even crippling lack of confidence.

I grew up in something of an executive, jet-set family, where divorce ruled. 

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Ray Johnston has a rich, varied background as a professor, speaker, writer, and founder of Thrive Communications and the Thrive Leadership Conference. He is the founding pastor of Bayside Church, one of the largest churches in the US, with more than 12,000 people. Ray has spoken to more than 4,000,000 people over the last 10 years and serves on the board of trustees at Azusa Pacific University, his alma mater. Ray and his wife, Carol, have four children.