“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.”
It’s no secret that the Shawshank Redemption is my favorite movie of all time: it’s filled with unforgettable quotes, an inspiring story, and an ending that makes me tear up every time. This movie has changed my life. Now, don’t worry if you’ve never seen the movie (but shame on you, go rent it immediately), you’ll still learn a lesson or two from this article.
I was emailing back and forth the other day with David of HeroicDestiny.com, and the topic of Hope came up. David remarked that I was selling hope with my Rebel Fitness Guide and Nerd Fitness in general – the hope for a better tomorrow: a stronger heart, a smaller waistline, and a more enjoyable existence.
I realized that David was absolutely right. My articles might be about learning how to squat, how to be more confident, or life lessons we can learn from Star Wars, but deep down each article is really about hope: hope for stronger legs, more confidence, and a better life, respectively.
Hope is one of the most important emotions a person can possess.
Victor Frankl, a concentration camp survivor and author of the famous A Man’s Search for Meaning, remarked: “The prisoner who had lost faith in the future – his future – was doomed.” I believe it was Nietzsche who said, “He who has a why can endure any how.”
Hope gets us out of bed in the morning, hope gets us to work, hope gets us to the gym. Hope gets us dreaming and wishing for a better future.
For these reasons, we need both hope and action to live a life worth living.
Back to the movie: while spending nineteen years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, the main character, Andy Dufresne, held on to the belief that there was a better life waiting for him outside, that there were “places in this world that aren’t made out of stone.” He held onto the hope that his life would one day improve. It was this hope that allowed him to survive getting beat up by the Sisters, being thrown in solitary confinement, and spending two decades locked up in a tiny prison cell with no chance for parole.
Now, along with hoping that things would get better, Andy took definitive steps to make sure his life WOULD get better. He spent those nineteen years digging a tunnel with a tiny rock hammer through his cell wall every night (which would have made Optimus Prime proud).
Andy spent his time hoping for a better future like everybody else; he was different in that he turned his hope into action.
After digging and tunneling nightly for years and years, Andy simply “up and vanished like a fart in the wind,” crawling through his tunnel, slithering through hundreds of yards of sewage pipe, and escaping to the Pacific coast of Mexico. He spent the rest of his days on the beaches of Zihuatanejo, fixing up an old boat with his friend Red and taking folks out on fishing trips.
For you math people out there: hope + action = win.
What do you want out of life? That is your “hope.”
What are you doing about it? That is your “action.”
Life is made up of prisoners, wannabes, and Andy Dufresnes. Prisoners go through the motions without hope. Wannabes have hope but don’t do anything about it. Andy Dufresnes have hope and are inspired to act. Which one are you?
1) Lose weight. Do you watch the Biggest Loser? Have you seen the movie 300 ? Did you watch either and go “wow that’s amazing, I’d like to be in great shape too!”
2) Make more money. Do you want more money? Don’t worry, you’re not alone – everybody wants to be more financially stable.
3) Be happy. Are you getting what you want out of life? Do you want to spend more time with your family? Have you ever dreamed of running your own business?
Don’t be the wannabe playing the lottery and looking for the easy way out. That’s hope without action. Don’t be the prisoner simply going through the motions. That’s action without hope.
Be Andy: hope for what you want, and then go get it.
As Andy says to Red, “It comes down to a simple choice, really: get busy living, or get busy dying.”
For years, I hoped to one day start a business and travel the world. That hope eventually inspired action, and I spent nineteen months blogging every day while working a full time job before I “broke free” to start my epic quest. Who knows, I might even end up in Zihuatanejo fixing up an old boat some day. (Care to join me? I could use a man that knows how to get things.)
This is my new hope: to turn my venture into a profitable, automated business that will allow me to solely focus on the things I love:
These are the things that I hope for, and it’s this hope that helps me take action every day.
I don’t care if you are 400 pounds overweight and working a job you hate. Tomorrow WILL be a better day than today if you make it so. No jail time or tunneling necessary – simply decide what you want out of life, and then decide how hard you’re willing to make that future happen. It might require sacrifices, long nights, and/or early mornings, but it IS possible.
What is your hope for the future? How is that hope inspiring you to take action?
PS – If you’ve seen Shawshank, here are the last two minutes (the best two minutes to end a movie ever). If you HAVEN’T seen Shawshank, watch these 40 inspirational speeches in 2 minutes instead. Either way: get inspired, have hope, and then do something about it!