How to Find Motivation When All Hope is Lost
If you feel a little lost and in need of hope, you may like to read about the one thing you can try TODAY to help you find the motivation to keep on going.
Have you ever seen the 1993 film, Groundhog Day, about a cynical television weatherman, Phil (Bill Murray), who becomes trapped in a time loop? Phil is forced to relive the same day over, and over and over again. No matter how much Phil tries to escape, he is stuck in a place where nothing he does, seems to matter. Phil quickly found that when all hope is lost, life becomes empty and meaningless.
Interestingly, according to the ancient Greek philosopher, Epicurus (341–270 B.C.), a happy life requires two things:
- freedom from mental disturbance, and
- the absence of physical pain.
Back in Groundhog Day, the self-absorbed Phil becomes mentally distressed because everything resets back to the beginning of the same monotonous day. And so, when Phil feels that all hope is lost, he tries to end his life … repeatedly!
Each time he tries, he just wakes up having to relive the same day again, and again.
Now Epictetus (c. 50–c. 135 A.D.), another Greek philosopher, held a different view on happiness. He believed happiness comes from:
- finding life’s purpose,
- accepting one’s fate, and
- behaving morally regardless of the personal cost.
Needless to say, it is only when Phil stops indulging in his own desires and begins to selflessly help others, that life becomes more meaningful.
As Phil begins to work through his fear, as opposed to actively avoiding it, he regains his hope. Slowly he begins to embrace the world around him: accepting each moment of his day. Instead of giving up hope each time he fails, he just tries again. In the end, Phil becomes the powerful agent of his own change and personal happiness.
Living a meaningful life
So it seems then that having hope is linked to living a meaningful life. Hope is a desire. It is a feeling of expectation, even if there is no physical evidence that this desire will actually manifest.
We all hope for different things in our lives. For some of us, it is to run a successful business. For others, it is to move to a foreign country; to experience harmonious family relationships; to get a degree or to have more confidence.
Hope is like the sun peeking through a dark cloud. It is that inner spark that reignites us. Hope propels us forward. It gives us purpose. Unlike Phil, who hated waking up on the same day, having hope makes getting out of bed effortless.
When hope is lost
Unfortunately, hope is not always present. There was a time in my life when I lost hope. I was a recent immigrant in Australia, and it felt as though I had lost my purpose in life. Back in South Africa, I saw it as my Christian duty to ‘save the homeless children’, yet I could not find any children to save where I lived in Melbourne. It felt as though I had lost my identity and getting out of bed each morning was a struggle. I felt lost and uncertain about how to live my life.
Perhaps you can relate to that feeling of hopelessness? There are many reasons we lose hope. Maybe it is because you lost someone close to you. Maybe you lost your job, or worse, you have applied for so many jobs, but nobody wants to hire you. Perhaps things didn’t go the way you planned, or maybe you became physically ill.
Like Phil, it was only when I began to accept my new life, that I could finally let go of my old hopes and dreams. I could then envision new possibilities.
The benefits of having hope
So, when all hope is lost, the first thing you should do is to accept your fate. Instead of resisting change, try to relax and let go. As you open up and embrace change, you also open up to receive new meaning in life. And with meaning comes hope.
And with hope, comes the motivation to face life with courage, strength and perseverance. Hope gives us confidence in the face of doubt. Hope keeps us optimistic and the stamina to keep going.
How to restore hope
So then, when all hope is lost, follow Epictetus’s advice:
- Accept your current circumstances
- Discover your life’s purpose
Please know that you do not have to struggle through feelings of hopeless on your own. It helps to have someone to talk to. If you would like extra guidance on how to find new hope, book in for a therapy session with Laurinda today.
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