Updated: Nov 8
They say that if you don’t see the book you want on the shelf, write it. We all possess a unique sense of originality and individuality. The story we know all too well, the story of ourselves. We all hold a different story; yet only some of us have more to offer to the world; than others. He who has been at the brink of the abyss; holds the power, the ability, or just the sheer perspective to explain life in a matter of mere words. Words of power, words that behold the truth. He who is foreign to the darkness that exists in the world we know of; has not truly experienced life as it is. The reason I wrote this book? Simple. I have lived a life of wisdom and want to establish it as a part of history. I believe my story has given me the strength and power to open the eyes of the fortunate and to empathize with the unfortunate. That bad times are not a destination, just a part of this long yet not so long journey we call life. To show my readers that no matter how weighted their pain may seem, it’s how we deal with it that defines our character. It is only when we begin to comprehend the tales of others that we are able to assess our own web of despair and how we can get out of it to look forward to a better future. My name is Alonzo Echavarria-Garza, and this is my story.
My relationship with hope throughout my life has been versatile, to say the least. There are so many books about positivity, negative thought spirals and the law of attraction, which talk about either metaphorical or philosophical views of achieving a successful mindset and winning in life. Rarely do these ideas ever resonate with us, because they are too foreign to us as ideas and are two opposite to the side of the spectrum we are in. Hence, failure to implement these ideas and establish them as a part of our mindset. Wisdom comes from the lives of people who faced adversity and came out on top. Philosophy is derived from history, hence often offering us a partial view of whatever that piece of wisdom has to offer. I want to do both.
Much like most of us, we are brought up in an environment that in one way or the other, hinders our true potential. Poverty and abuse are major and common aspects found in such environments, but generational beliefs and taboos also make their way into who we are to be as a person. We are only as good as our environment, we are our environment. But poverty and abuse may afford birth ignorance, which then plays out in every aspect of your character, and your personality. The remaining of us who were born in liberal, healthy and wealthy families don’t get introduced to many major adversities as well as many limited thought processes and beliefs. But this side of the spectrum comes with its own facets of ignorance.
Point being, however we are brought up, the mindset which is right, which is positive, gets left behind somewhere along the way. For most, positive thinking is nothing but a metaphorical idea and that life doesn't necessarily work that way. Today, people who are out there, saying that thinking positively changed their lives are considered by a decent population as nothing but a medium of making money. The law of attraction, power of manifestation to bring life to your dreams, is a billion dollar industry. The money-making agenda causes the teacher and the student to drift away from a deeper understanding of such an important concept. Life without the right mindset can be hard. Often, it is us who make lives harder for ourselves, rarely circumstances control you than you control them. I believe there is a whole lot here that we do not understand about a positive mindset, basic concepts that will help us become a better version of ourselves.
Life early on for me was quite mundane. We were a happy family, I was an active and healthy kid. Loved my bicycle and rode it whenever I had the opportunity. Played sports outdoors with friends as well as my siblings, a younger brother and sister. I was the oldest of two and enjoyed having semi grown up privileges. We were all active as children, both my parents were extremely hard working and determined to give us the best life possible. Parents are defined by actions and not words, I like to think that my parents' determination is ingrained in me and in my work ethic. Anyway, because my parents were busy people, we kids were out on the street a lot, also because the neighborhood had a lot of kids. Everyone was friendly, rarely did I get into any fights.
This perfect life of mine, lasted until I had an accident. But before that I was your average teen, though I have always been a thinker. A lot of my concepts are evolved versions of understanding simple aspects of life early on. I was also not the main leader of my group, more like the one behind the scenes, making it possible. So I wasn't the best performing employee, more like his boss who made his employees' performance a reality. I was quite the popular kid, chosen first for sports, charismatic and easy-going. Within the confines of their marriage my parents did have some differences and were nearly at the brink of divorce. Issues that were unspoken of. A lot of kids are made a part of the family's confrontations and quarrels but my parents kept their differences to themselves, and I respect them for it. I loved my family but wasn't as close to them as I could have been. Perhaps it was my teenage that directed me towards other interests, perhaps teenage was not the only reason.
Overall, my life was perfect compared to other people. It was, until it wasn't. Something happened, something that would scar me for the years to come. Something that caused me to take myself with me, wherever I go. This incident played a significant role in my decision to take time out and write. Not about my story, or mere philosophies, but purely about hope. The light that takes you out of the darkest confines, the light that helps you unravel the maze. This average teenager with a near-perfect life met with a circumstance that changed my life forever, and took decades of my life. Decades, gone right in front of my eye. Only one.
My relationship with hope has been a long one, to say the least. But first, let me ask you a question. What do you know about hope? Think about it. Now, understand how your answer is a mere interpretation of who you are, your beliefs and your thoughts. In that manner, your definition of hope may easily be prohibited and not a deeper, truer comprehension of what this concept is about and how it is of any significance to us. In a more spiritual context, hope is connected to believing in what is better for us in the future, with faith towards a higher entity. For others, it indicates positivity, and constant focus towards the brighter side. Hope is often seen as a wish, an anticipation. Hope is connected to positivity, but is different in nature. A positive person is usually more hopeful than others. A pessimist is hopeful too, hopeful of his negative beliefs. Hope isn’t just associated with dire circumstances, but also the key to happiness, in day to day life.
A book is only as good as the person reading it. Comprehension and interpretation of content determines what you grasp out of anything. Do not read any further if you are not ready to differentiate and determine your ignorance to assure openness about what this book has to offer. Let's focus on this for a moment. Don’t be Rigid. Understand that a man who thinks he knows, knows nothing. Also, know that no one can make you listen, but yourself. See, we all know things. Some things we know are right, some we couldn't be more wrong about. But we don’t know how to differentiate the right and wrong, we believe it simply because it is what we deemed right?
Absolutely. An open mind is a dangerous mind. It breeds comprehension unlike any other. Topics of success and growth are not for you now if you are not ready to let go of what you know. Roots can also often limit an individual to climb higher in the infinite mountain of knowledge. You cannot move forward if you are not open minded. Everything your mind processes on a day-to-day basis can most certainly be an absolute waste if you have limited yourself in such a manner. Remember, whenever we come face to face with an opinion, we have a decision to make. Our fate is in our hands through these decisions, and the quality of the decision is determined by the quality of the individual. When you are face to face with an opinion, it is ill advised to not fully understand the perspective in front of you, and barge in with your own. Absorb everything, take out what is unnecessary, and add your own. Right and wrong are questions for later, absorbing information comes first. Do not disregard what is bad due to its sheer nature, valuable knowledge is found in the darkest of pursuits.
A rainbow is sort of a prism that sends shards of multicolored light in multiple directions. It is usually referred to as a beacon that lifts our spirits and makes us consider all that is possible. Hope is the same, a rainbow of the mind. To get a better outlook on this, let's look at the two models. The belief-desire model considers hope to be a desire for a particular state of affairs that one understands is possible. This model is designed to accommodate any and all possible I hope situations. Then there is the adversity model which takes substantial or hopes of significance to be one’s experience under conditions of adversity, where we encounter obstacles that make it rather difficult or nearly impossible to bring about what we desire. The model is not designed to accommodate all possible I hope situations, but instead to understand why some hope matters. Hope keeps us going under circumstances that invite despair. However, the adversity concept encourages in its “do or die” nature about hope protecting us from the web of despair.
A better comprehension would be that hope has two necessary conditions. First, hope includes a belief that a certain state of affairs is possible but not with certainty. If the believed probability of its manifestation is too low, like being a mere logical possibility, then one can only wish, not hope for it. If the believed probability of its manifestation is too high, then one is planning not hoping for it. Second, hope deliberately includes a desire that a certain state of affairs will manifest amongst the temporal unfolding of events. Hope comes from the conscious endorsement of the value of the project at hand rather than mere desiring. Hope is an emotional attitude directed towards a temporal unfolding of certain events that one deems and believes possible. We hope about how these temporal unfolding of events will proceed only because we assume that there is more than one way in which these events can unfold, and some unfoldings match our preferences better than others.
Hope be it for the most trivial of things, when you look at it closely, it is of a relatively sophisticated cognitive capacity. Hoping isn’t for the weak, though the weak have it in them to make use of it. It requires the ability to imaginatively entertain a possible outcome as well as recognize it as not the only possible future. Entertaining these possible outcomes indicates entertaining hypotheses about what these future options might be, and entertaining that those options are developing from the present. Hoping requires a deep understanding that events proceed from now to then. Hoping also requires a vast capacity to appreciate the fact that enduring objects have not only temporary and present states, but future states as well, and to deliberately desire what those future states will be like. Most importantly, having hopes for ourselves sheds light on the capacity to take our future seriously.Hopes are both a preference about one’s future possibilities as well as a preference about the present experienced by oneself, just in the future.
Hope plays one of the most significant roles of them all, but perhaps not in the way or to the extent that we may usually imagine. Focusing on the more dramatic cases where hope sustained efforts to survive under harsh conditions or to keep pursuing some admirable dream in the face of seemingly challenging obstacles invites not only overly dramatic descriptions of why hope matters but also an inattention to the more basic ways that the most simple and ordinary hopes matter. Hoping isn't different then a super power, a power that is instilled in all of us but has faded for many along the progression of time. It involves cognitive and imaginative capacities that are unique to human beings, from all other creations of the world. The capacity to think of various aspects, including oneself, having a future, imagining desirable and possible, real temporal trajectories for certain enduring hardships, and to take that temporal trajectory seriously. Even the simplest forms of hope by us rely on these cognitive and imaginative capacities. So when we are perfectly capable of formulating and acting on temporally extended plans, hope seconds the sort of commitments we make to carrying out those plans. To find yourself unable to imagine a desirable and possible future, means to lose the basis for taking an interest in one’s own existence.
The capacity to have hope is important to focus on. But this does not mean that all hoping is a good thing. Certain hopes may be criticisable as unrealistic, unhealthy, shallow, unbefitting one’s role, an expression of some vice, or even evidence of an unearned privilege. One may hope that he may sustain his life’s projects through some high level of extraordinary adversity, and that could seem wonderful at first. But such hopes are also tied to an unhealthily inflexible conception of himself, an excessive pride in his powers, abilities, self-control, control of others, an irrational fear of appearing unmanly to others, and a blindness to the cost his hopes imposes on others around him. What we hope for and in the face of contingencies says a lot about who we are and the value of our hopes.
Hope is an undermined topic. We value it when times are tough, and fail to understand what it is that this abstract power we are born with, has to offer. Hope has kept me up and going, hope is the only thing that is standing in your way to achieve whatever it is you want in life. But, there's a whole another aspect you need to cater to, the sheer power of positivity.
“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.” – Emily Dickinson