I once had a counselee who had started a business. It went bankrupt, but he started another business and finally managed to make it work.

He told me:

When I started my first business, the only thing that kept me going was hope. I was full of hope but didn’t have anything else to hold onto. Instead of doing what was needed for my business to succeed, I only hoped it would be okay. I launched endeavors where things could only go as planned if the right thing was done at the right time. Potential problems eventually turned into real ones, and nothing worked as I had intended.

His business is going fairly well now after our sessions together. He explains this by saying:

It’s because I don’t work with hope anymore. It’s not that I don’t have any hopes or positive aspirations for the future, but I just do my best in hard situations. I gave up hoping that the things I neglected won’t cause me problems later. I still can’t guarantee that everything will go smoothly once I’ve done everything possible, but I can rest easy knowing I did everything I could, because I can’t forget how painful my previous way was!

This also applies to most aspects of life. If we want something so bad but are unwilling to do what it takes, we’re at a point of apprehensive hope. This is the point where we have a lot of hope, practice positive thinking, meditate, pray, creatively visualize, and wait for the subject of our desire to fall into our laps without effort.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying opportunities don’t come easily sometimes. It’s just that in my opinion, this universe, this system, is not designed so people can have whatever they want without taxing their abilities. On the contrary, the universe is for showing people what they can actually do.

On the other hand, if you feel depleted, and the results of your efforts never seem to change regardless of how strongly you struggle with life, you’re probably at the point of depressive hope. If you really are, you should just accept that your efforts will not make your dreams come true, at least for now. You can’t sustain a failed relationship or a bankrupt business on hope alone.

That said, when you do your best with what you have, accept you cannot do everything, understand the uncertainty of the future, and learn to stop when your efforts are futile, you actually have the right to have some hope. It means you’re at the point of real hope. This is the point where you can use your capacity and potential at the highest level, the point of development, expansion, and opportunity. Here you will see how opportunity and luck really do fall into your lap.