Two people facing identical circumstances can have radically different reactions. One person can be energized with hope while the other falls into the depths of despair. The difference between these people is outlook. The hopeful person sees solutions while the desperate person sees problems.

You always have the freedom to choose hope instead of despair. You also have a responsibility to yourself to persist until problems are overcome. Wallowing in despair offers no benefits. Don’t make any excuses for giving up hope.

It’s your view of the world which determines whether you have a vison of hope or despair. When faced with challenges, a person with hope finds possibilities, while the person in despair finds pitfalls.

An outlook of despair can be transformed into one of hope. Taking positive steps forward prevents sinking into desperation. Avoid any behavior which will not improve your situation. Attempting to mitigate problems by taking any moral or ethical shortcuts invariably worsens your predicament. You don’t want to be looking over your shoulder wondering when aberrant behavior will be discovered.

Challenging times provides an opportunity for new insights and discoveries. They are motivation to learn and grow. Viewing challenges from this perspective provides hope. Facing adversity forces you to dig deep to discover previously hidden strengths. Your objective is to make the best of whatever circumstances you encounter.

Confidence leads to hope, while fear leads to despair. Confident people direct their focus to all which is possible. Fearful people see only roadblocks. A hopeful perspective knows no limitations because there is always something that can be done.

When encountering a situation where you have no idea what to do next, take a step back in order to put things in perspective. If possible, stop thinking about the situation so your mind takes a break. This strategy allows your mind to clear, giving you insights you didn’t have while emotionally entangled in the situation.

Once you have a fresh outlook, your path forward will becomes well-defined. There is always at least one positive step forward you can take. Action displaces worry. Action helps you feel better. Action improves your situation. Action prevents you from developing a victim mentality.

Develop an understanding of your purpose and goals. It’s a waste of your time dealing with situations which don’t affect you. You will encounter a lot of issues which, although initially appear to be problems, are in fact not worthy of your attention. These issues can be ignored since they are irrelevant to your well-being.

Here are some examples of circumstances you can walk away from: someone says something you disagree with, you are offended by a subject you read about, or see on T.V., or one of your relatives has a political view you can’t stand. Letting go of these situations improves your emotional state while conserving your energy for relevant issues.

Although there are situations you can’t change, you never give up hope because you are in control of your responses. Understanding this gives you a can-do mindset. You are not controlled by what other people say, think, or do. You are in charge of the strategy you select to best deal with whatever obstacles you are facing.

Appreciating all of the blessing in your life right now provides hope. When facing adversity, it’s easy to lose track of all you have in your favor. Being aware of all that is good in your life is a significant attitude booster.

Always choose hope over despair. It will make you a better problem solver and you will be much happier.

NOW AVAILABLE: “Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.

NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.

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