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“Many of us are in jobs that aren’t feeding us emotionally. To rekindle that hopeful spirit, you have to be excited about a goal in your life.”
He also suggests that we find ourselves a hope mentor, if you will. “Find the most hopeful person in your life and spend time with that person,” he suggested. “Being around someone who has hope will fill you with that positive emotion,” he promises.
“And watching them will teach you how to behave in a positive way, how to push again despite setbacks.”
Those mentors can appear in surprising ways. Adam Moen, who attended one of Lopez’s talks, found his hope mentor at a coffee shop.
Moen, 22, graduated from the U in December with a degree in finance. In his junior year, he traveled to Brazil, returning home feeling depressed and turning to drugs and alcohol to “escape.”
He eventually sought professional help and leaned on his parents, too, who were deeply concerned. But he walked into a St. Paul coffee shop one day to talk with a recovering alcoholic turned life coach who told Moen: “You have to wake up every day and repeat 100 times that you’re worth something,” he said. “I think you’re a wonderful human being.”
Moen now takes hope to other young people struggling with mental health problems.
“People are very relieved to hear that, even though we have a lot of successes in our lives, it’s our vulnerabilities that connect us,” Moen said.
Finally, in the toughest of times, Lopez reminds us that our deepest human instinct is to be hopeful. The scientist has measured that, too.
“We’re very optimistic creatures,” he said, noting that this is particularly true for Americans. “Eighty-plus percent of Americans lean toward optimism. Most people wake up in the morning thinking the future will be as good or better than the present.”