A Guide to Creating Hope in Your Life

Making Hope Happen: Create the Future You Want for Yourself and Others

By Shane J. Lopez

Dr. Shane J Lopez has become the leading researcher in the field of hope.  In his latest book he further refines his theories and presents an accessible mix of science, practical advice and anecdotes to bringing to life the importance of hope in personal wellbeing and success.  He argues that hope is a key factor in leading a happier, healthier and more productive life.

He begins by drawing a distinction between optimism and hope.  Optimism is believing that the future will be better, whilst hope is the additional belief that you have role in making that future a reality.  Hope, then, is self-empowered optimism!  This introduction of personal responsibility is important and pleasingly sets a theme for the book – hard work and effort are still needed to get you the future you want, even with the help of the recommendations made in the book.

Lopez describes “the Hope Cycle”, proposing a 3 step journey of goals, agency and pathways.  It struck me that this relates directly to the first 3 steps of the GROW model we often use for coaching:

1. Goals:  how you want the future to be

2. Agency:  the perceived ability to reach the goal, which is very similar to the “Reality” component of GROW

3. Pathways: the routes to reaching the goals, the “Options” of GROW

Lopez emphasises our choice in determining the future we wish to pursue and offers a series of practical tools to assess our hopefulness and to learn to be more hopeful.  The fact that hope can be learned is useful knowledge in itself, but perhaps the most hopeful lesson of the whole book is the way that hope can be learned from others – hope is contagious!

Also included are many real life stories of people the author has worked with or studied to illustrate hope in action.  Whether these stories come across as uplifting or clichéd probably depends on the inclination of the reader, but they do serve to remind us that hope is possible in all circumstances.

Making Hope Happen is both informative and entertaining, combining effective “self-help” strategies with rigorous background research and academic theory.  It will appeal equally to personal, professional and academic audiences.  If you want to make the future better than the present, I recommend this book.