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Hope Is Not a Strategy PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Buerger   
Thursday, 28 May 2009 05:58

Back when Barrack Obama was elected as President of the United States, his acceptance speech included a whole section on "hope" and how we Americans can now have hope for a better tomorrow.  At the time, I found it to be a moving message.  We were in the throes of one of the worst economic downturns in my lifetime.  It was uplifting to think positively about the future when the present seemed so stark.

But is "Hope" a good strategy?  I would have to say, "No!"

I don't believe hope is a good strategy for a country - there needs to be more than that.  I certainly believe that hope is a terrible strategy for a person, family or business that will result in a great deal of pain in the long run.


Now, I have nothing against hope and dreams and all those other positive attributes of optimistic thinking.  I am one of the most optimistic people I know - and hope is a foundational element of my personal makeup.  Certainly, the opposite of hope (despair) is undesirable.  The question, however, is whether or not hope is a good strategy for going through your daily life.  Does hope as a strategy serve you? or is there something better?

This question came into focus through some conversations I had with clients in the past few days:

One couple had their summer vacation trip changed because his mom fell and broke her hip on the day they were going to leave.  Rather than traveling to some exotic land and enjoying some time together, they spent 10 days in Hanford, CA running between the hospital, a skilled nursing facility and dealing with Dad who has Alzheimer's.

It certainly wasn't the vacation they were planning.

Or how about my clients in Santa Barbara where the Jesusita fire game within two blocks of their home.  The whole conversation was about the great job the firemen did, how wonderful it is that people do that kind of work … and how much they respected all the people that came to the rescue of that community.  There was only a quick mention of the cleaning that needed to be done and no discussion of the hassles with being evacuated for days.


Life is messy - just ask anybody who has little children.  For all we love order and cleanliness (and these are all great things), to deny that chaos exists or that it could come in at a moment's notice and completely mess with your life is ... frankly ... delusional.

I think that is one of the biggest factors in my work as a Wealth Coach.  We spend a great deal of time building a financial foundation that can withstand life's earthquakes - everything from illness to disability to fire and flood ... even dying.  No financial strategy is perfect for every eventuality, but any decent, professionally-crafted strategy is better than the strategy of Hope.


When I first built the RichAndFulfilling.com website, I offered a series of free reports titled, “The Five Secrets of the Wealthy.”  If you are a registered user of this website, you can still find those reports on this site under the “Five Secrets” tab.

But the truth is that none of them are really secrets.  They are used by people every day – some times and with some people they are used with more discipline than others, but if you were to talk to wealthy people, they would gladly tell you what works for them and why.  These aren't kept secret behind closed doors – secured by a password or encrypted into some special key hidden in an ancient church.

This stuff is in the wide open and Wealthy people are happy to share it.  I know, because I get to talk with Wealthy People every day.  They are my clients - like the ones' whose stories I just shared.


In both cases and many more I could cite, what was interesting about the conversations were (a) the clients' approaches to the messes in their lives and (b) their happiness that they were prepared for those messes to happen – maybe not specifically, but they knew (because of the work we did together) that they were on track, had the appropriate amount of protection and were able to handle whatever life threw at them – no matter how messy it is.

That – by the way – is the primary benefit of working with a fiduciary advisor, Wealth Coach and Certified Financial Planner professional.  We look at everything and through that process you will KNOW you are on track.


What it all boils down to is an approach.  This is an approach that is intuitively obvious and accessible to anybody who chooses it.  Those people who are successful and wealthy (in the broadest definition you can imagine) take this approach with their finances and everything they do in life.

Those who are struggling do not.

The difference is simply doing things on purpose (as the wealthy do) compared to letting life hit you in the face (which is what the rest of the world does).

"WILL" vs. "HOPE"

For my clients and all the other wealth people I know (who I would love to become my clients), there has been a purposeful decision to adopt a "Strategy of Will" compared to a "Strategy of Hope."  They are all committed to taking action, living a life on purpose and launching towards their goals rather than putting of the sail and hoping the wind blows them in a direction that they like.

Congratulations are due to you if you are one of these "Strategy of Will" people.  I know you are enjoying a Rich and Fulfilling life.  If you are not there yet, that's OK.  It's is simply the small matter of making a choice to taking a different approach.


Setting this concept onto a grander stage suggests that "hope" is not a viable strategy at the national level, either.  It will take more than hope to get our country (and the rest of the world economy) out of our current mess.  Hope is important to have, but it is not enough.

Before things can change around ... before we can start in a positive direction economically - the WILL of the people must be engaged.  Getting that process started will require hope, but it will require more, too.  A vast majority of the people must make the conscious effort get back on the right footing.  This means a return to reasonable savings (even less consumption for the sake of consumption, a more consistent focus on future generations and the burdens we are placing on them and (the most difficult) acceptance of personal responsibility to fix the problem.

Someone else (government for example) can't fix this problem for us.  We must do it ourselves.  We must do this on purpose, individually ... and we must do it on purpose, collectively.


I really doubt you want to have life just hit you in the face over and over.  I know that it isn't fun.  I've been there.  I have also met with lots of people living through it and can tell you they aren't happy about it - although sometimes they choose not to change it.  I also know that it doesn't have to be that way.

I do have hope.  I hope you can understand that, too, for you – It doesn't have to be that way.  You CAN live your life on PURPOSE.  If you do, you will be able to enjoy that Rich And Fulfilling life we talk about here every day.

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Last Updated on Monday, 01 November 2010 23:21