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Written by: Ralph Twombly
Published: November 2012

Every year about this time I get a bit melancholy looking back at all the things I have learned from all of you this year. So for November and December I decided to write about a couple things that I hope (no pun intended) you will find interesting. This month, hope is more than just on my mind.

Hope - As I write we are on the threshold of another election gone by and as with all elections this was clearly the "most important election of our lifetime." Personally, I lost count a while back with how many times I have heard those words and most of us are tired of attack ads and now that we have a winner it will probably look like the best of bad choices if you were to believe the ads. So, you probably ask yourself, like I do, why do we do it? Why do we fall for the same old promises and try to choose the candidate on the issues knowing eventually half of us will be disappointed and the other half temporarily validated. A bit masochistic? Maybe not, because maybe we live on hope.

Hope for all of our wishes to come true and maybe we think that if we elect the right candidate we will get a stronger and more robust economy, maybe our children will be the beneficiaries of better health care and maybe those people who seem to hate use across the water will be less threatening. Naive? I doubt that. In this informed age, I don't find nearly as much naiveté as once existed. So let's consider our hard wiring. Yes, that's right, hard wiring.

(CBS News) NEW YORK - The secret to a long life may be linked to your personality. A study out Wednesday in the journal "Aging" looks at people who lived 100 years or more. It found that they all tend to have a positive outlook. The study focused on a group of New Yorkers known as super-agers.
106-year-old Irving Kahn used to pass through Central Park on his way to school. Along the way he would see "things you would never see (today)... cows, sheep on the lawn."
Researchers discover optimism may lead to longevity

Kahn still goes to work every day, keeping tabs on the financial firm he built with his family. His sister named Happy, lived to be 109. His baby brother Peter is a 105. Tom, Irving's son, is 69.

I think the world conspires against "hopers". They are called all sorts of names, mostly behind their backs. Dreamers and idealists are a couple of my favorites and yet science tells us that people who live 100 years or more have this one characteristic in common.

So why do we dislike "hopers" so? My guess is that they scare us a little because of their resilience. They take their beatings like the rest of us and then they come up with some catchy saying like: "What doesn"t kill you will only makes you stronger.” What is that all about?

They get turned down for the job they have been working forever to get and while you and I want to take revenge on their children, they do something really bone-headed like ask; "What do I need to do be ready next time." They want to know what "they" need to do? Do you love good quotes? So do I.

"There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We felt what it is to die, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of life.
" Live the, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget, that until the day God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words, Wait and Hope."
-  Alexandre Dumas 1802-1870 - Author of The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers

Seriously, by now you can imagine that I am a real fan of people who hold firmly to hope. I don't think it is naive or a waste of time. In fact it may be the best use of all of our time. We can never get too many dreamers and hopers as far as I'm concerned. Will they be dashed on the rocks of reality? Of course they will, but here is the thing. They will pick themselves up over and over and simply live 100 years while all the negative fretters will be a distant memory.

Let me leave you with the words of someone so much smarter than I will ever be.

"Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all."

Emily Dickinson

Ralph Twombly

Ralph Twombly

In the 20 years since starting Priority Learning, Ralph has facilitated countless learning experiences and has conducted training for thousands of managers and leaders. With over 30 years of leadership development and organizational development background and work, Ralph continues to build relationships with client companies all over the U.S.