“The leaders of men are those who are full of some great and fruitful idea. And he who is thus possessed sees clearly, and maintains a cheerful courage, where common men tremble and rebel” (James T. White).
THANK GOODNESS FOR LEADERS. They are the ones whose imaginations are fired up with great ideas, and they blaze the trail ahead of us, undeterred by whatever obstacles may block the path. The grinding forces of discouragement and pessimism would often be too much for us if it weren’t for leaders who keep hope alive. Our ideas are our possibilities — and leaders are those who keep us believing that our ideas are worthwhile and they can actually be carried out.
Hopeful leaders have an impact on us because hopefulness is contagious. When a crowd is discouraged, it only takes one brave, optimistic leader to give them hope. Discouragement is contagious too, of course, but I believe hopefulness is stronger than discouragement. The influence of one truly hopeful person can often counteract the gloom of many pessimists. For that reason, all of us need to be people of hope. Blind hope is not worth much, obviously, but when hope is built on a foundation of solid evidence, we can make the choice to maintain hope even in the midst of momentary darkness. When we do that, others will very likely “catch” our hope.
Some people are more naturally prone to hopefulness, but it is a quality that can be cultivated by all of us. It takes disciplining our minds to remember the evidence our hopes are built on — refusing to let temporary discouragements distract us. And when we cultivate hope continually, it turns into an enthusiasm that is unquenchable.
Despair — the loss of all hope — is one of the worst things in the world. It robs us of the courage to take the next step, the one that is right in front of us at the present moment. Despair kills us by paralyzing us, preventing us from doing the very doable thing (the next step is always a step we can take) that would move us in a better direction. So as a matter of principle, let’s reject despair and refuse to give up our ideals. Come what may, let’s keep moving forward!
“Let us beware of losing our enthusiasm. Let us ever glory in something, and strive to attain our admiration for all that would ennoble, and our interest in all that would enrich and beautify our life” (Phillips Brooks).