Practical hopefulness

Life Garage Core Concept

We can learn to live lives of hope without being mindlessly optimistic.


What do you think of when you think about living hopefully? For some, they might think it’s about finding a silver lining in every cloud. The problem here is that not all clouds have the famed silver lining. For others, they might feel it’s just a way of being wishful and unrealistic about the present circumstances. The problem here is that sometimes the circumstances cannot be changed, and we need to refocus our attention to something more constructive.

Living with practical grounded hopefulness is a way of accepting not all things can be changed, and that not all our goals or ideals can be met, but that we can still travel with integrity being more concerned with the journey than the outcome.

An example – Living with a terminal illness

The concept of living with hope has become critical in the care of terminally ill patients. Here’s what it looks like in this context in comparison to false hopelessness and false hope:

  • False hopelessness – the feeling that there is no point in continuing. Everything is doomed and might as well end now.

  • Practical hope – things aren’t what I would have chosen but there are still some choices I can make about how I live now.

  • False hope – there’s still a chance I can beat this if I just try hard enough.

Characteristics of hope

This kind of hope is characterised by several key aspects:

  • Acceptance

  • Appreciation

  • Seeing the bigger picture

  • Selective control

  • Seeking connection

  • Maintaining resilience

The change-influence-accept (CIA) model

This CIA model was initially developed by a human resources specialist and a social work lecturer as a tool for reflective practitioners to help them manage time and stress.

Learning to look after ourselves

As well as setting positive goals and developing new skills, a key ingredient of living life well is getting the simple things in place on a regular basis to make sure we are looking after ourselves.


Download our free core concept and key tools resource worksheets.

Core concept

Key tools


Additional resources



Realistic hope


TEDx Talk

Finding hope in hopelessness



How to be hopeful

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