This simple life formula reminds me, for me (H)ope alone is not (≠) a (S)trategy.
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If you were Angelina Jolie what would you have done?
Imagine, you are faced with the information and the research available to you, but without any outward signs of having started to develop breast cancer. Do you ignore it and hope you're going to be OK? Or, do you decide to take matters into your own hands and try and tip the odds in your favour?
Now if you're a guy, you may be thinking "it's not a challenge I'm likely to face" but don't forget men can and do get breast cancer.
At the moment if it were your testicles you were thinking about you'd be right about not having the choice. BUT it isn't something that you'll be able to hide behind for much longer. If the latest research and press speculation is to be believed we are literally months away from having a similar option available for potential testicular cancer sufferers.
So if having hope isn't a strategy, what is it?
|Angelina Jolie - Photo: Gage Skidmore|
I believe hope can be a real way of achieving a strategy. I especially believe this is the case when hope is based on what is possible; maybe not probable, but possible all the same.
From my personal experience, when hope is based on real-world knowledge mixed with both concrete and more esoteric data, it results in trust (sometimes self-trust) which is necessary to implementing any strategy.
Isn't that where Angelina Jolie has come from in making her decision?
She has affected the elements she can based on as much data as she can get. In taking the mastectomy decision while she is still healthy, she has eliminated a significant risk in the potential for her to develop a future illness. Not any future illness, but one where the risk factors for her, based on her genetics were high.
But there are also a host of uncertainties she would have had to take in to account. Uncertainties around her feelings of femininity and the reaction of her long-term partner to name but two.
For her, the decision has come down to the hope that she will have a better and longer life without her natural breasts than with. So for Angelina Jolie, hope was an input and an outcome of the strategy she chose when dealing with a wicked potential problem.
The message for me is 'hope supports realistic optimism', which is a necessary component of living a happy life. It isn't a strategy, but it is a key part of getting people (sometimes yourself) to buy into a strategy.
So, how can you make hope part of your strategy?
- Base your hope on the facts and data you have, not blind optimism
- Focus on the positives of what works, not on what isn't working
- Learn from your failures and apply those lessons
- Use hope as your way of keeping you positive against pessimists.
If you do these things, then hope really can be a part of your strategy.
1. Have you ever relied purely on hope? How in control of things did you feel?
2. What situations do you have all the facts about really? Where does hope fit?
3. How do you differentiate between fact based hope and blind optimism?
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