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H.O.P.E. – Have Only Positive Expectations

By Noelle Nelson February 03, 2021 Mindset

Really? Only positive expectations in a world that seems to be spinning completely out of control? Where pandemic, economic distress, and violence appear to be the order of our days?

Yes. Hope. Whether you define hope as the dictionary does, “the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best,” or as “Have Only Positive Expectations,” where hope is absolutely essential.

H.O.P.E. is the only thing that can lift our hearts and minds out of the despair that often spells an end to innovation and progress and to movement forward. Hope is precisely what we need to restore our world to health, be it physical, mental, or emotional.

Defining Hope

The advantage to defining hope as “Have Only Positive Expectations” is that it gives us a practical application of what can be an otherwise amorphous experience. It is, after all, easier to come up with a thought than it is to generate a feeling. You can come up with a positive expectation without having to feel it.

For example, I can have a positive expectation that my efforts to maintain good health during the Covid pandemic by wearing a mask, hand-washing, and maintaining social distance will be successful, even if my feeling about everything turning out for the best is up one moment and down the next.

Positive Expectations Keep Us Going

Think about it. What if Gwyn Haslock, Britain’s first competitive female surfing champion, had no positive expectations about her ability to become a surfer? Back in the 1960s, there was hardly a woman anywhere who surfed, much less surfed competitively.

But Gwyn had always loved the sea, and when she saw people “walking on water,” as surfers looked to be doing, she wanted to emulate them. She had a positive expectation that she could learn the sport, regardless of her gender, and that with enough practice, she could get good at it.

Given that Gwyn worked fulltime as a typist and could only surf on weekends, she was prepared for it to take her a while. Her positive expectation of success did not diminish.

Sure enough, four short years later, Gwyn made history and became a competitive surfer. Now, at 74, Gwyn is still riding the waves. Now retired, she can surf anytime she wants.

How does Gwyn’s example help us now? Positive expectations are the fuel of optimism, and optimism is what keeps us going during tough times. No matter how badly you may miss being with friends and family “live” and enjoying their hugs and spontaneous interaction, you can still entertain the positive expectation of an enjoyable FaceTime or Skype or Zoom get-together.

You can feel sad and disappointed at not being able to celebrate birthdays or anniversaries at your favorite restaurant, that place you always go to for special events, yet you can still have the positive expectation of creating a special virtual or at-home celebration.

Let Negative Emotions Take a Back Seat

It’s all about giving negative emotions less of your focus so that you can go forward into your day with thoughts that develop into pleasant or more pleasing events. The more you focus on what you can expect deliberately, with positive intent, the less you will let your unhappy emotions drag you down.

Eventually, our world will find its balance again, but in the meantime, let hope/H.O.P.E. be your guide.

Can you describe a hopeful thought that you’ve turned into a positive action? Is being hopeful challenging for you right now? In what ways? How have you turned a negative emotion into a positive experience? Please share with the community!

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The Author

Dr. Noelle Nelson is a psychologist, consultant and speaker. She is passionate about personal growth and happiness. She’s authored over a dozen books including The Longevity Secret: How to Live Happy, Healthy & Vibrant Into Your 70s, 80s, 90s and Beyond and Phoenix Rising: Surviving Catastrophic Loss: Fires, Floods, Hurricanes and Tornadoes. Visit her at

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