A Man with no Hope is not a Hopeless Man!
Dr Wayne Dyer once said: “When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change”. Wise words indeed, but a man cannot think his way out of a seemingly hopeless situation, no matter how hard he tries. The ‘fake it till you make it’ approach doesn’t alter the reality on the ground – so to speak – and that’s why ‘positive action’ is the only chance he has of making any real progressive changes in his attitude, outlook, and future happiness.
What is Hopelessness?
When a middle-aged male feels hopeless, the root causes can be complex. But there are some common influences that lead up to his feelings of desperation and lost confidence.
The older a man gets, the more powerful and prolonged harmful emotions can become, whether they’re fancied or real. The good news is that adverse beliefs CAN be reversed.
Middle age is often a time for reflection, but taking stock sometimes creates more trouble than it’s worth, especially if the individual starts looking at what’s missing from his life rather than what’s in it. Totting up the failures and missed opportunities, while at the same time dismissing the accomplishments, is another trap to be very wary of.
Before reading on, you might want to watch the video below on ‘Overcoming Hopelessness’ presented by Nick Vujicic at TEDx Novi Sad, Serbia.
Is this ‘ALL’ there is?
Far too often, today’s ageing men find themselves looking at their surroundings and thinking “Is this ‘all’ there is?”. Over time, looking for fault in ones underachievements, mistakes, and regrets can become the norm. And when the mind is in the wrong place, a pessimistic outlook becomes easier to focus on than one of optimism and hope.
More often than not, such feelings are rarely spontaneous and tend creep up gradually, usually quite subtlety and unnoticed. Being conscious of those things that trigger negativity and despair can help prevent them from festering into undiluted pessimism. The 4 main areas that can change a man’s perception of the world are when he starts to feel – or actually becomes – lonely, isolated, depressed, and hopeless – for whatever the reason(s). Other triggers may be:
- Failed relationship(s)
- Financial failures (past, present, and lack of future planning)
- Low health and fitness levels (let himself go)
- Employment (lost opportunities, lack of progress, skills etc)
The list could obviously go on and on. This might be a good time to point out that whatever a man is feeling, and providing he still has his health, then nothing is lost, or as Thomas Carlyle once put it; “He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope, has everything.”
The Simple Solution
Action is the key to fending off or avoiding middle-age misery altogether. Staying plugged in to the world, interacting with others, along with a healthy diet and regular exercise, can all help produce an astonishing transformation in mindset. The flip side of this is inaction, as this can contribute greatly towards a downbeat belief in oneself. But remember that ‘positive action’ can turn things around just as easily, providing there are no medical complications preventing it.
Loneliness and isolation doesn’t always mean the absence of people. Some men will feel incredibly lonely and isolated even when surrounded by family, friends, and work colleagues. Such feelings can be caused by years of monotonous routine and repetitious lifestyle. It is times like these that a break from the norm is desirable. It’s like Henry Ford once pointed out:
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
Even something as simple as chatting with strangers in web forums – on topics that interest you – can act as a springboard to better thinking. It’s all about getting involved doing something new, different, and by choice. Remember, just as negative reflection can grow negative thinking, so can positive thoughts and actions work in the reverse.
And don’t forget, if a man loses hope, that doesn’t make him a hopeless man.
If you would like to get involved with online discussions and share what’s going on in your life right now, then you might want to drop in on the 50ish forums for men.
By Toby Strowger | 50ish Site Contributor
Toby Strowger is a men’s lifestyle writer for 50ish.org