Motivation and emotion/Book/2019/Hope and motivation

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Hope and motivation:
In what ways does hope influence our motivational lives?
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Overview[edit | edit source]

Have you ever wondered what motivates you to follow a certain plan of action? Whether it be a dream, deepest desire or even Hope that something will occur[grammar?]. Is it a possibility that you were motivated by financial reasons, such as winning the lottery? Or might it be Hope that there may come a cure to a disease that is currently impacting your life or the life of a loved one?

Hope has been a central motivation to how we think, feel and respond to environmental events and thus our key motivational source to action. Howard Clinebell, Professor in pastoral counselling presented Hope as a multifaceted concept with two specific layers. First, the power of Hope brings positive change. He depicts positive change as a metaphorical soil that enables Hope to grow, bearing the fruit of unrealised goals. Secondly, Clinebell considers Hope as a spiritual cognition such as a belief or expectation.  It is interesting to consider the similar impacts of faith and Hope on our emotional lives. Spirituality holds a close relationship with Hope. It delivers psychological growth and self-discipline to achieve a goal.  It gives people patience and the ability to accept difficult circumstances, even accepting suffering and death. Spirituality allows for individual's[grammar?] to focus on the present moment and fulfil their destiny, to live life on the terms of the individual (Dimond, 2008)[1].

The purpose of this chapter is to explore how Hope influences our motivations and whether Hope has a positive or negative impact on our emotional well-being. The definition of Hope will be examined referencing popular theoretical frameworks, especially Snyder's Hope Theory.

What is hope?[edit | edit source]

Figure 1. Dandelion commonly known as the "wishing flower" is key representation of Hope and desire of future expectation

Hope has been described as a motivating aspect of happiness or a method of coping or succeeding is achieving individual goals and aspirations. The aim of this chapter is to better understand how the role of Hope and how it impacts on our motivation to act.

Hope is ultimately a desire for an advantageous or ideal future. It maintains a positive focus on the assets of life rather what's insufferable, moreover, Hope provides the power to improve quality of life. Hope in essence, is trusting that the future will be better.[factual?]

Hope as a positive motivating influence[edit | edit source]

The motivationally enhancing aspect of hope arises from positive psychology. An individual's sense of positivity is due to their development, achievements and general life satisfaction (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 200). Hope is considered a future determined perspective which is particularly useful for those recovering from mental illness, helping them to gain control and refocus their mindset and outlook on their life. Hope is therefore considered to be a crucial prerequisite to recovery for those who are mentally ill (Chen, Park, 2016)[2]. To better understand the role Hope plays in reaching recovery for those who are seriously ill, Anthony (1993) depicted recovery as a “deeply personal, unique process of changing one’s attitude, values, feelings, goals, skills and/or roles. It is a way of living a satisfying, Hopeful and contributing life even with the limitations caused by illness.” Furthermore, Hope is a developmental prospect to creating a new meaning of one’s life and progress beyond the description of their current diagnosis and the influence that it may have on their life at present to idealise as to what could result in the future (ibid)[2]

Hope is strongly associated with strategic thinking, and decision making, and goal setting{{fact}. People possessing Hope to have an optimistic mindset for events to come and belief that their desired goals can be achieved. Hope[grammar?] in essence, is motivationally beneficial as it enables an individual to uphold productive actions to achieve their goals (Chen, Park, 2016)[2].

To further illustrate the positive role Hope plays on motivation, it is important to address positive psychology. Positive psychology sees Hope as a motivating quality the motivates individuals to trust that life is worth living, encouraging them to overcome challenges (Seligman, 2002).  Seligman sees Hope as essential to human experience dividing it into two subsections: the subjective; whereby the individual seeks inner strength and optimistic cognition, such as, life satisfaction. The second aspect important to Hope is individual, that resonates human strength[explain?].

Particularly for those individuals with illness, Hope is a motivating aspect as it has a specific emphasis achieving one’s goals to maintain life satisfaction rather than allowing the dark information of their lives influence their mindset and behaviour in general.[factual?]

Hope as a detrimental motivation[edit | edit source]

While Hope is a desire for an advantageous future, it can be a motivationally dangerous and detrimental aspect to individuals who harness Hope to achieve unattainable goals, consequently behaving in a way that is destructive (Lamia, 2011).[3] Gambling is a specific example of Hope being used in a way that is detrimental. Many gamblers come from a mindset of "the grass is always greener on the other side", betting and taking risks to achieve a hoped for better life. It is suggested by research that gamblers are primarily motivated by taking chances because of the heightened emotion, social connection, boost in self efficacy and most importantly, desire for monetary reward. This behaviour is not only a source of entertainment but an escape from the stresses of real life (Shinaprayoon, Carter, Goodie, 2018) [4]. The constant anticipation associated with gambling can serve to strengthen the individuals focus on striving for the win. In some cases this distorts reality and makes more important goals less of a priority.

In other individuals, not effected[grammar?] by gambling, if a desired goal is not met, the greater the expectation, the greater disappointment will result. The more often a hoped-for event does not occur, the motivation for that individual will significantly decrease over time. Typically, this will reduce the motivational drive of the individual to pursue the goal and may lead them to question their self-worth and purpose in life.

Hope can play a major role in the lives of individuals who are diagnosed with chronic illness[factual?]. While it can be a positive thing to Hope for a cure and seek treatment, Hope can also be detrimental if there is no valid treatment and the person is refusing to accept the inevitability of their illness[factual?]. These people are vulnerable to exploitation by people offering untested, unsafe and expensive treatments. The person, who may be better off considering palliative care options and focusing on achieving the best quality of life for their remaining days, may otherwise choose to pursue unnecessary and traumatic treatments in Hope of an unobtainable cure.

Quiz[edit | edit source]

Hope has an important role to play in..


Theoretical framework[edit | edit source]

The definition of Hope comprised by Snyder, Irving and Anderson (1991) describes this concept as a "positive motivational state based on an interactively derived sense of successful agency (goal directed energy) and Pathways (planning to meet goals)" (Chen, Park, 2016)[2]. Goal making as mentioned is a signature feature to the concept of Hope. Charles Snyder's Hope Theory (2002) supports this, introducing the concepts of Agency and Pathways. Essentially, Hope theory is to produce multiple pathways to allow for goals to become much more flexible and achievable, further, to come up with new and innovative ideas to overcome obstacles and to develop a number of goals and sub-goals to overcome challenges to success. Snyder believed that Hope was very important to the explanation of agency and pathway cognitive processes. In other words, he argued that achieving goals came as result of an individual being confident of their ability to overcome barriers (Tong, Fredrickson, Chang, Lim, 2009)[5].

Lets[grammar?] observe the components to Hope Theory[factual?] in further detail.

Agency[edit | edit source]

Agency is the belief that one can successfully achieve their goals and have control over the decisions one makes without the reliance on other people. Self-efficacy is a closely related concept to Agency that is, the ability to monitor and perceive one's environment and how one might approach challenges. Agency is comprised of two different levels of measurement, trait and state Agency. Trait Agency is the enduring tendency for an individual to believe that after one successful experience they are completely capable as a person to reach all of their goals. A mindset such as this might be “my past experiences have prepared me well for my future”. The other measure of Agency, State Agency is an evaluation of the current moment and not so much having concern for future goals. Examples of this mindset could be “This is a great opportunity. I reckon I can do this"” (Tong, Fredrickson, Chang, Lim, 2009)[6]

Pathways[edit | edit source]

An individual who has just completed the HSC[Provide more detail] and needs an ATAR[Provide more detail] of 85 to gain entrance to the desired University course, doesn't achieve the mark they needed. A person with Agency to achieve their career goals will create several different Pathways to achieve their goal e.g.

  1. Undertake additional study to gain marks required
  2. Gain vocational work experience to help with entry requirements
  3. Attend a different university that offers a lower entry (ATAR) requirement for same course

Thanks to the work of Snyder's Hope theory, in explanation of the role of Agency and Pathways;[grammar?] it is understood that persistence and sustaining motivation provides an individual with the willpower to overcome failures and setbacks and find alternative means of achieving their ultimate goal (Simon, Kwan, 2010)[7]. Agency was further explored by clinical psychologist, Everette Worthington, who stated that hope-focused behaviour enables an individual to view situations more favourably and work to improve current conditions. For those in distress, Pathways become a [grammar?] in Snyder's words "a waypower for change" that is, to create an alternate route to overcome negative thought processes and to find a solution to the current hopeless situation (Kwan, Simon, 2010)[7].

Case study

Walt Disney was an entrepreneur, animator, voice actor and film producer. He will be remembered for the creation of Mickey Mouse and The Walt Disney (mass media) Company that created over 200 movies. While he is known for his sucess[spelling?] during his lifetime this didn't come without a great deal of effort. He employed a great deal of Hope, had a great sense of personal Agency and in the face of challenges , creating Pathways to achieve his goals[factual?].

Disney grew up in a poor family and had to work long hours as a paper boy to earn money. This caused his school work to suffer and his low grades may have deprived him of opportunities for a successful career. However, Disney had Hope. He found other Pathways to achieve his goals - a weekend art class, and soon received recognition for his drawing. This early success would have further fuelled his hope for a career in animation, strengthening his sense of Agency. Early in his career he set up a company with his brother that went bankrupt, then when he created his first successful animated character the concept was stolen by a producer. Despite these setbacks he continued down different pathways and subsequently achieved his goal of receiving international recognition with the character Mickey Mouse.[factual?]

Quiz[edit | edit source]

Which of the following is NOT a component of Snyder's Hope theory?


How does Hope impact motivation?[edit | edit source]

[Provide more detail]

Hope and self concept[edit | edit source]

An individual with Hope and a positive mindset and sense of Agency, is more likely to achieve their goals than someone who doesn't see the desired outcome as a possibility. Agency and Pathways each are co-dependent and core to the individual's confidence that they can achieve. This is where Hope and self-concept become interrelated. The idea of having multiple pathways as a result of Snyder's theory allow for the individual to have an alternative plans making it more likely to attain their goals. In a therapeutic setting a psychologist might use the fundamentals of Hope Theory to assist and strategise ways to assist a client in converting their feelings of despair to a more optimistic mindset by constructing pathways and thus developing a greater sense of Agency. See figure 2. for examples on Agencies and Pathways.

While the relationship between Hope and motivation is interconnect with one's sense of personal autonomy, an individual may also have a goal mindset motivated by religious beliefs. It is interesting to consider the difference between faith and Hope.

Figure 2. Examples of Agency and Pathways in Snyder's Hope Theory.

Hope versus faith[edit | edit source]

One thing important to differentiate between is the definition of Hope and faith. Hope is the result of self-belief and a sense of confidence in being able to achieve a more advantageous future of your own design. Faith on the other hand is a heavy reliance on a religious construct that is often associated with a pre-existing plan with a focus on the present moment (Luke, 2014)[8]. Faith is commonly related to trust, reliance and belief. In daily life, trust in God's promises are a sole motivator for an individual's behaviour. A person of faith will be motivated to take certain courses of action believing God will reward them with a successful outcome. It was said in Hebrew 11:1 "Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen."

Hope, Motivation and popular culture[edit | edit source]

Theologist, Donald Capps sees a relationship of proximity between goals and Hope. Capps identifies three areas that are integral to Hope that is trust, patience and modesty (Simon, Kwan, 2010)[7]. Donald Capps defined hope as the most fundamental human experience that starts developing profoundly at an early age. He refers to hoping as a “perception that what one wants to happen will happen, fuelled by desire”. Through the progression of hope comes an imaginative prediction of the years to come[7].

Agents of Hope[7]
Trust The reliance that the path the individual is dependable and are reassured that the process will result in success
Patience "Not passively waiting, but persisting", When obstacles arise, rather than the individual giving up they move forward in a strategic manner and are prepared for challenges to occur.
Modesty "Letting go of failed hopes and of the self who envisioned them". In Capps[grammar?] perspective hope is a feeling of deepest aspiration and are able to progress with precision and patience.

Hope is a widely held concept in our society which is taught to us as children and reinforced through popular culture. Disney movies are popular with children throughout the western world. A major them[spelling?] of all Disney storylines is Hope. The main character inevitably faces a major life challenge but through Hope and qualities of Trust, Patience and Modesty (Capps theory) the 'heroine' overcomes their unhappy situation and is rewarded with a better life.

In 1950, the Disney classic Cinderella is the story of a young girl whose mother had died, and her father remarried. Despite being mistreated by her step-mother and step sisters, she retained Hope. Cinderella remained humble and positive hoping for a better life; Her Pathways to happiness included taking pleasure in small things such as befriending the four mice and being kind even to the evil stepmother and step-sisters despite her mistreatment. As a fantasy story, the appearance of a Fairy Godmother provided the ultimate pathway, taking her from rags to riches.

59 years later in 2009, the Disney/Pixar movie 'UP' was released continuing the successful theme of hope against adversity. The main character is grieving the loss of his wife, the frustration of not being recognised for the discovery of a rare bird and the threat of being put into a retirement home. Despite this adversity he has a strong sense of Hope and self-belief. In the true spirit of Disney fantasy, he attaches hundreds of helium balloons to his home and literally floats away to a paradise where his dreams are realised.

I would suggest that the enduring popularity of Disney movies relates to the strong themes of hope and positivity that can be experienced in all of the stories. From a young age, a sense of Hope is something we all desire.

Here are a selection of quotes from popular Disney movies from the past 70 years that each reinforce Donald Capps' three areas of Hope i.e. Trust, Patience and Modesty.

  • "Even miracles take a little time." -- Fairy Godmother (Cinderella, 1950)[9]
  • "All it takes is faith and trust." -- Peter Pan (Peter Pan, 1953)[9]
  • "Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it." -- Rafiki (The Lion King, 1994)[9]
  • "Sometimes the right path is not the easiest one." -- Grandmother Willow (Pocahontas, 1995)[9]
  • "A true hero isn't measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart." -- Zeus (Hercules, 1997)[9]
  • "You control your destiny -- you don't need magic to do it. And there are no magical shortcuts to solving your problems." -- Merida (Brave, 2012)[9]
  • "Our fate lives within us. You only have to be brave enough to see it." -- Merida (Brave, 2012)[9]

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

Hope plays an important role in our lives and has been the subject of much academic research. As a leader in the field, Snyder, through his Hope Theory describes the role of Agency and Pathways as devices individuals use to overcome adversity and achieve their goals. Hope is strongly linked to self-belief, which is a clear distinction from Faith, which draws its motivation from a belief in a spiritual force.

Whilst Hope is generally considered to be a positive quality it is beneficial to understand how Hope can be used to a person's detriment. Gamblers for instance invest in a sense of Hope that they will win great financial rewards and their commitment to this belief and the Agency and Pathways established can be difficult patterns of behaviour to break. Similarly, people with terminal illness can sometimes cling to the false hope of a cure, when they would be better served seeking pain relief and quality palliative care.

The case study of Walt Disney has been an excellent example as to how an individual with a strong sense of Hope can possess Agency and employ various Pathways to achieve their desired goals despite many challenges. To quote Walt Disney "If you can dream it, you can do it!"[10]. A person without Hope is a person in despair. Helping an individual to re-connect with Hope can be a valuable means for a therapist to help a person with mental illness to find a road to recovery and create a vision for a positive future.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "The Psychology of Spirituality". Psychology Today. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Park, J., & Chen, R. K. (2016). Positive psychology and hope as means to recovery from mental illness. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 47(2), 34-42. Retrieved from
  3. "The Power of Hope, and Recognizing When It's Hopeless". Psychology Today. Retrieved 2019-10-09.
  4. Shinaprayoon, Thitapa; Carter, Nathan T; Goodie, Adam S (2017-12-08). "The Modified Gambling Motivation Scale: Confirmatory Factor Analysis and Links With Problem Gambling". Journal of Gambling Issues (37). doi:10.4309/jgi.v0i37.3994. ISSN 1910-7595. 
  5. Tong, Eddie M. W.; Fredrickson, Barbara L.; Chang, Weining; Lim, Zi Xing (2010-11). "Re-examining hope: The roles of agency thinking and pathways thinking". Cognition & Emotion 24 (7): 1207–1215. doi:10.1080/02699930903138865. ISSN 0269-9931. 
  6. Tong, Eddie M. W.; Fredrickson, Barbara L.; Chang, Weining; Lim, Zi Xing (2010-11). "Re-examining hope: The roles of agency thinking and pathways thinking". Cognition & Emotion 24 (7): 1207–1215. doi:10.1080/02699930903138865. ISSN 0269-9931. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Kwan, Simon S. M. (2010-01). "Interrogating “Hope” – Pastoral Theology of Hope and Positive Psychology". International Journal of Practical Theology 14 (1). doi:10.1515/ijpt.2010.5. ISSN 1430-6921. 
  8. "1 corinthians - What is the difference between hope and faith?". Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 "107 Walt Disney Quotes That Perfectly Capture His Spirit". Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  10. "20 Walt Disney business quotes to inspire and motivate you". Retrieved 2019-10-20.

External Links[edit | edit source]