I Gave Up Hope – by Mark Carson

Ever since I gave up hope I feel a lot better. I know hope sounds like a good thing to have; an essential for a life of meaning and purpose. But I got tired of hoping and waiting and getting depressed when nothing changed and starting over; so I stopped giving up and gave up hope instead.

Hope is the light at the end of the tunnel perpetually reminding you that you are IN a tunnel. Hope is the idea that there is something better out there, and if the stars align, if you blow on the dice just right, if you get the right cards from the dealer, or the little ball falls in just the right spot, everything will be different…perfect…ideal. Hope tells you that there is something better than where you are, but you don’t have the power to get there. Hope constantly tells you that you are NOT WHERE YOU WANT TO BE!

That’s depressing.

When you think about it, gambling is nothing but quantified hope. The fine print on a lottery ticket tells you exactly how far to get your hopes up. Las Vegas is a town built on (and bankrolled by) hope, but the most successful people there aren’t the ones winning million dollar jackpots. The people making all the money don’t really gamble, because nobody gambles to win. People gamble to lose. If someone actually does, by freak accident, win that huge wad of cash they were hoping for…the one they thought would solve all of their financial problems… they rush to give it (and more) back to the casino.

How many people do you know who have actually come back from Vegas with more money than they left with?

My point exactly.

You don’t get what you HOPE for, you get what you WORK for. Success never blindsides anyone. Fitness is never shocking. Athletic achievement is rarely a suprise. A 400 lb bench press does not catch an athlete off-guard. Nobody ever got to the end of the Boston Marathon and exclaimed “I just hoped I could finish!” Finishing well is not a miracle; having the courage to make a shaky start toward a goal which is well beyond your current ability IS.

We all CAN, but CAN and DO are very different things.

I will not lie. It will take LOTS of work; there is no telling how many miles you will run when you chase your dreams. It will take discipline to remember what you want, but if you never go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you never ask, the answer will always be no. If you don’t step forward, you will always be in the same place. Are you waiting, hoping, for someone to give you a chance, or are you going to take one?

There WILL be mountains and hills along the way, but no tunnel for there to be a light at the end of. Well-meaning friends and family will tell you that you can avoid the hills, but what is so good about the flat? Flat tires, flat-lining, flat soda, and flat hair? LIFE happens in the hills. Mountains are opportunities to prove yourself that you are stronger than you ever imagined. There is also some pretty amazing scenery along the way.

Your friends at the gym are here to guide you to (and through) the rare air at the peak, but you can only get there by working. Wishing, waiting, wanting, and hoping won’t do it.

Stop hoping for a better tomorrow; it keeps you from enjoying today.