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Optimism vs. Hope

Updated: Nov 9, 2022

The other day I was talking to a client about their current EAM project. During that conversation the client said, “I really hope our project goes well.”

Now I’m sure you have said something like that before. But when you think about the word hope, it sounds like the outcome is out of your control and you have no say in the matter.

How different the conversation would be if the person said, “I am optimistic that our project will go well.”

When you look at the definitions of the words hope and optimism, you see very similar words but very different meanings.

Optimism is the confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something. Whereas hope is defined as the expectation of a positive outcome.

Dr. Utpal M. Dholakia, a Professor at Rice University, says “Linguistically speaking, the concept of hope seemed to me to be a decidedly inferior concept, like a cocktail of optimism mixed in with a bit of desperation. Hope has less control, and optimism has more control.”

Simply put, the optimistic person believes that somehow through his or her actions, the future will be successful and fulfilling. The hopeful person, on the other hand, believes that the actions of others will secure a successful and fulfilling outcome.

As you consider these two words, I think you will see how even the subtle difference in word choice can make a big impact in how you approach things.

While I hope you like my Marty’s Minute, I am optimistic that you will take these writings to heart.

Until next time…I’m Marty, make every minute count.


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