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.

Hopeless ManWhat 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.

Overcoming hopelessness - Nick Vujicic

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.

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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

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Article Edited and formatted by Andy Aitch (Webmaster of 50ish.org)
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Readers Comments

    B Lowell says:

    Jack you nailed it. You are a true word Smith. At 54 I have way more regrets than accomplishments.

    lynn oliver says:

    There are multiple reasons. 1. The belief boys, later men should be strong is still here and has allowed much more aggressive and less supportive treatment to make boys, later men tough. This is still in effect. This has created higher maintained, average stress (layers of mental work that remain in the mind contrary to false belief it is just situational). For boys, later men it has created higher average layers of average stress that hurt thinking, learning, motivation to learn, and mental health. This along with much less support including verbal support from an early age has created many lags in academic growth for boys, later men. In the information age, this treatment has been totally opposite for needs in today’s world and is leaving many boys, later men completely unable to work and live this new information age.
    2. Boys and men are now being seen as inferior and are being treated even more harshly and men treated with more patronization at school, at work, in stores and other places they frequent. This is also showing up in the media much more so today.
    3. The presumption of inferiority for Males, especially older Males has left older Males almost completely unable to obtain a living wage in the information age.
    4. Also, the age old belief boys, later men should be strong allows love and honor for Males only on condition of some achievement, status, image, etc. Those Males not achieving are allowed from society more aggressive, harsh treatment from others. This was designed to keep Male esteem and feelings of self-worth low, so they would keep trying in harsh circumstances and even given their lives in time of war. Now their already maintained low self-esteem is being bottomed out by the information for which they have been so inappropriately trained. This can only mean much more depression, suicide, and even violence by those older men and I feel, even many younger men who feel disenfranchised by the system.

    JD says:

    Great post. Sums it up nicely. But the fact remains middle age is middle age, soon to be followed by old age. Middle age = youth gone, looks gone, virility gone, a brighter tomorrow gone. You’re where you are at and that’s pretty much it. You’ve either made it or you haven’t. But even if you have ‘made it’ you’re still middle aged. That’s the real source of hopelessness for me. No amount of exercise, dipping younger women or positive thinking is going to change that.

      Andy Aitch says:

      Hi JD and thanks for your comments.

      There is of course a lot of truth in what you say, but let’s not forget that age in general is also a state of mind as much as a number. We cannot turn the clock back – unfortunately – but that doesn’t mean we’re up the creek without a paddle the moment we reach say 45+. I like to cling onto my motto which is ‘A man is not old until his dreams become his regrets’.

      Having said that, the ongoing poll on our home page has surprised me a bit by its results (about 260 votes at the time of writing), with more votes showing men either hate middle age or they think it’s just ok.


        Jack B says:

        Guess I’m “Old” as my ‘dreams’ are now regrets…

      Jack B says:

      Just found this site, good info. Realise this thread is old but like to write I agree with your assessment. There are many variables involved with each man, yet oftentimes one is busied in younger years with education, career advancement, marriage/family rearing – and even with these it’s often not the 1st best choice/desire but 2nd,5th…30th best – then the time comes when it all slows down and you look and realise “I shot my load,missed the mark(s) – now what?”

      That’s the “realm” I’m in now

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