I started this blog to be helpful. I started this blog to share money tips, helping others save and earn. I started this blog when I was in college, and didn’t have a day job. Dollar signs seemed like the solution to all of my problems.
Recently, I’ve come to a realization. Sure, money can solve problems. But it’s not the paper itself that makes life easier to live. It’s what’s behind that paper. It’s the belief that we can do better for ourselves. It’s the belief that the stressors in our lives will find relief. It is hope.
If you’ve ever judged that someone just needed to work harder, try harder, do more to improve their circumstances, I would argue with you. These things help, and may be a necessary component, but they are not the only component in success. A lot of “success” is opportunity. A lot of opportunity is currently come upon by luck. Luck that you were born in the right place to get to know the right people. Luck that you struck the right chord at the right time. Luck that the part of society you were raised in helped you learn cultural norms that nearly guaranteed success if you were willing to put in the hard work.
But society isn’t one dimensional. There are also people who come from a place where hard work often goes unrewarded. Where even the greatest ideas aren’t realized because the proximity to opportunity is distant at best. One where waves of doubt crash in on hope, attempting to erode away at it until it morphs into despair.
When people reach a point where hope no longer exists, they start doing bad things. They turn to crime. They turn to violence. They turn to extremes. If there is no hope in doing the upright thing, why resist a lifestyle that seemingly rewards?
And this is why hope is so powerful. This is why hope is so critical. This is why hope is the most valuable commodity. Without it, we can succumb to a moral relativity that would threaten to tear down society, the world, and all that is “good” in it. It’s why those that have hope should be concerned for those who are losing it.
Even if empathy for the sake of itself is a lost cause, the betterment of the world would dictate that instilling hope in all those around us is better for our societies and therefore ourselves as we live and function within those societies. It should not come from a place of insincere patronization, but an honest desire to make the world a better place for everyone that lives in it, ourselves included.
How do we instill hope?
Money can be a vehicle to help us reach our goals. I try to write about things you can do, scholarships you can apply to, and programs you can seek out in order to help spread financial hope, because I’ve been in a place where doubt threatened to take it away from me before. Thankfully the attempts were unsuccessful. Awareness of rarely-discussed opportunities saved it for me.
Financial generosity can help spread hope through charitable organizations and individual acts, if done correctly. Not making blanket judgments of others that are not of your socioeconomic class can go a long way towards opening the door to your own, sincere empathy, allowing you to relate as a human being and spread the valuable commodity further. Removing those judgments could also go a long way to closing the door on tensions felt between social classes, moving opportunity closer to all those who work hard and have great ideas which would benefit us as a whole.
Money isn’t the only way to find hope. A lot of our needs as human beings are social. Some of us are born with great talents for relating to others, for fitting in. Some of us are not. Be kind. Get to know people. Learn to love them. Build the social ties that we need to feel good about our present and future. Build relationships both parties can look forward to enjoying for years to come. Not for financial benefit. But for the two-way street that is brotherly love for another human being.
My list is by no means exhaustive, and this is where I need your help. How do you spread hope in the world around you? Or in what ways could we look at increasing the amount that exists in our world? I don’t feel it’s a finite resource. I feel it’s one that we can exponentially resupply.