Career Advice--

by Rosa Chillis
July 26, 2016

The Benefits of Hope and Optimism
“Hope is being able to see that there is more light despite all of the darkness.”—Desmond Tutu

Hope is more than mere desire and better than mere expectation. Hope is indispensable if you want to endure a difficult situation without giving up or sinking into deep depression. Hope is strengthening in that despite difficult circumstances you wait patiently the hoped for thing.

But hope does not have to be passive. In fact, to sit and wait is the same as “wishing” that gets you nowhere. You must work. To hope means to have positive thoughts about your future and to be willing to take steps necessary to make it happen.

Let me illustrate—

I read a book by Jose Saramago titled Blindness, published in 1995. The book won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998. Many consider this book Saramago’s dystopic vision, which means an imaginary place or society where everything is profoundly unhappy and miserable. I’ve never read a stranger book. There’s mass blindness that pictures a loss of humanity.

Here is a brief plot summary as described on

‘”Blindness’ tells the story of several individuals engulfed in a widespread epidemic of ‘white blindness,’ in which they only see bright white. All blind and those in contact with them are quickly interned in an old mental hospital facility. In an effort to stay with her husband, a now-blind ophthalmologist’s wife fakes her own blindness into a new hell. A story of survival against an army of ‘liquidators’ and sacrifice ensues during which the internees are led by the last remaining seeing woman.”

So much happens to the characters in this book (the characters have no names, only descriptions). For instance, though helpless and interdependent, their behaviors are reduced to no more than animals. They act worse than savages; they fight over food, commit rape, and murder. There is a total breakdown in what makes people human.

I’m not a literary scholar qualified to debate the themes and symbols of this book, but as a lay person, and one who enjoys reading good literature, I would describe Blindness as a book of horror!

As it turns out, “the doctor’s wife” never loses hope. In her compassion, she claws and scratches and schemes and even commits a murder herself. In the end, when there seems to be no way out of “hell,” it is she, as the only person in the asylum not afflicted with blindness, that leads the group out of the asylum and helps them survive in the city.

The key thought here is “hope.” No, hope isn’t passive; it’s a willingness to put into action steps to shape and invest in your future; it’s a positive outlook on your future.

However, the author Jose Saramago is an atheist Communist and believes religion is the cause of all mankind’s ills—including violence. “Hope” means an expectation or desire for something to happen and as a possession of the Christian faithful that hope is for everlasting life.

But as an atheist did Saramago intend that one of his main characters should have hope?

Do atheists have hope?
We know that for many of the religious, hope gives peace of mind for what lies ahead. But atheists will say hope can be found apart from religion as there are many things to hope for: health, wellness, and happiness; for the power to make a better life for self and family, and so forth.

So even though Saramago as an atheist would suggest no thought of religion or faith in a higher power, there’s no question in my mind that in his book Blindness it is hope that propels “the doctor’s wife” to take action—and win.

“Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power.”—William James

What can be said about optimism?
Are you a glass half empty or a glass half full type of person?
Optimism means to be hopeful and confident about the future or your success in some endeavor—to expect a favorable outcome.

So can optimism improve your health?
Most of us have to deal with daily pressures of everyday life. These can lead to frustration, even panic. A pessimistic person sees defeat or a setback as permanent—even blaming herself for the situation. An optimistic person has hope and confidence in the future.

In a 30-year study of over 800 patients by the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, U.S.A. scientists found that optimists had better health and lived significantly longer than others. The researchers also found that optimists coped better with stress and therefore less likely to develop depression.

Other benefits include:
- It promotes a sense of happiness and wellbeing
- It promotes self-confidence and boosts self-esteem
- It enables you to take action to change or improve situations
- It promotes better feelings about money
- It allows you to bounce back quickly from any adversity
- It enables you to enjoy your work regardless of your job
- It promotes peace of mind in situations over which you have not control

However, being optimistic is not easy, especially in an environment where problems stack up for almost everyone. It’s tough to think positively.
Three tips to feel more optimistic::
1) When you find yourself thinking that you won’t enjoy something or you won’t succeed in some project, reject the thought. Focus on the positive
2) Look for friends who view life positively (the glass half-full attitudes)
3) Every day, write down three good things that happened to you; be grateful

“A cheerful heart is good medicine.” –Proverbs 17:22

Author's Bio: 

Rosa Chillis is the author of four books: Your Voice Is Your Image: Four Ways to Improve Your Speaking Voice (1999, 2007); What Every Unemployed Woman Over 50 Should Know: 17 Success Strategies to Land Your Next Job (2008, 2010); 12 Amazing Job Search Strategies for Women: How to Find the Career You Want (2013); and her latest e-book, Misery at Work? 7 Practical Ideas that Lead to Success and Contentment in Your Job (2015).
Her book, Your Voice Is Your Image, was recognized by Writer’s Digest 1999 National Self-Published Book Awards: “Great exercises for people to take control of how they want their voices to sound.”
Chillis has instructed voice and articulation, oral communication, and communication skills at Wayne County Community College, Wayne State University’s College of Lifelong Learning, and the University of Phoenix—Michigan campus. For more than two years, she worked as a mentor/coach at Western Governors University.
Chillis holds a master’s degree in instructional technology and certification as a Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF). As a GCDF, she has helped individuals to understand and assess their talents, strengths, and skills. Her objective: to ensure her clients have the self-knowledge, self-confidence, and tools to actively manage their own career change or job search and thus become as independent as possible.
She has published numerous articles on Web sites such as and, and has been designated an “Ezine Articles Expert Author.”
Chillis is currently the president of Adasane & Associates, Inc., which specializes in personal growth writing and publishing.
Reach her at: