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"We will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope" Martin Luther King Jr.

As Dr. King knew, hope is an incredibly important attribute when trying to accomplish any goal. Hope in the darkest times, is what keeps us moving toward our goals whether that goal be to end a centuries long injustice or something much smaller in scope. Hope is our launching pad. It is the light that illuminates our path. It is hope that keeps us moving forward when all seems lost or the finish line seems impossibly far away. Dr. King knew that to have hope and to give hope were essential to the success of the Civil Rights movement. He became the embodiment of hope for millions across our country, and he remains a symbol of the power of hope to this day.

What is hope and is it possible to cultivate hope? According to Professor Rick Snyder, it is a psychological attribute comprised of three elements:

  1. Having goals that you believe in and that are important to you.

  2. Believing that you can achieve your goals even if there are obstacles along the way.

  3. Finding multiple, possible avenues to achieve your goals and committing yourself to pursue them.

Based on this description, hope is a very active attribute. It is purposeful, and it requires that we commit to action. Know that there will be obstacles along the way. Prepare for them and have alternate routes to your goal planned. There may be disappointments and setbacks along the way, but don't allow those to derail you. They are what make us stronger and allow us to do greater things than we ever imagined.

According to Psychology Today, there are some simple things that we can do to cultivate hope.

1. Practice mindfulness. Be present in this moment. Stop the worry before it can take hold

and grow.

2. Develop a spiritual life whatever that looks like for you. Just believing in something

greater than ourselves grows and strengthens our hope.

3. Do something that you love! In trying times, these things give us the ability to tac