To Hope Et. Al.

by River Ho Rathore

The Voice always makes me tear up. Yes, that reality TV shows that aspires to discover the newest talented voices, and which has already been franchised across various countries. Every week, I turn on the TV just in time for The Voice’s broadcast, eager not only to listen to mind-blowing voices, but more intently to listen to contestants’ stories of hope, passion, persistence and determination.

I recall the movies and novels that defined my early years. Some of my all-time favorite movies are Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), a story of empowerment between friends, and Kung Fu Hustle (2004), a fictional story on the making of a Kung Fu Master. As a teenager, I would lose myself in Sidney Sheldon’s protagonists as they endured life’s trials but eventually emerged as victors. With my eyebrows furrowed, eyes glued to the book pages, I would imagine myself as the lead character – living her/his life, crumbling under her/his pains, drawing from her/his inner desire to make a better life. Every time I finished a novel, I would think about it for days thereafter, pondering what I would have done if I were the main character. It was always a time for introspection about my own character, my inner desires, and how badly I also wanted to succeed like the protagonist.

Apart from reading, I have had the most learning by listening to people’s stories. I am one of the least sociable persons I know; but give me any random person who has a life story to tell, and I will be all ears for hours. In my line of work, I have always made sure to listen to my colleague’s stories – how their family set up is, what they spend their monthly earnings on, how they view their children’s future, and what they consider their personal legacies to be. Very often, I am in awe of how far people have come to get to where they are now. It makes me realize that each person, whether rich or poor, has had a personal cross to bear. It also has taught me that the people who have made the most improvements in their lives are those who always walked tirelessly toward the silver lining.

Note that I mentioned ‘walked tirelessly toward the silver lining’. The emphasis here is on constantly moving forward – it does not matter if these are made in small steps or in strides. It can be as simple as listening more than talking, changing “no” to “no, but we can…”, or as complex as taking full or partial responsibility for the situation we are bemoaning.

Hope is one of the virtues that I personally turn to the most, but I also recognize that progress is not made merely by hoping. Hope needs to be accompanied by passion and determination, traits that propel us to act with persistence. It is possible we did not create the problems ourselves, but we are definitely part of the solution – maybe we even are THE ONLY solution.

Never, ever, underestimate the power you wield to control your life.

The protagonists we read about in novels, the men and women on the Forbes power lists, and the myriad personalities we follow on social media: remember that each of them has had a cross to bear. We consider them successful because of what they have become – successful, strong, influential and happy — after overcoming their obstacles.

Are you ready to be hopeful, passionate, determined and persistent? I trust that you are, as your best version is yet to come.

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