Hope is a Flywheel

I recently found myself reflecting on a question of hope during hard times.

I came to realize two things and these two things led me to one thing.

First, the two things:


  1. Hope is hard to find.

  2. You might not find it.

Let's unpack.

Hope is hard to find

Hope isn’t obvious. If it were, you wouldn’t be looking for it.

Hope is rarely going to show up in a nice grand gesture and present itself for the taking.

Hope is like a set of lost keys. You know it exists somewhere, and that somewhere is currently elusive.

You might not find it

Perhaps hope isn’t something you find, rather, it’s something you create.

Perhaps we shouldn't frame hope as an outside force that we react to, but rather, frame it as an internal force that we proactively generate.

These two things led me to one thing

Hope is a flywheel.

If you're unsure of the analogy, spend two minutes reading this excerpt from Good to Great by Jim Collins.

In the case of hope during hard times, the harder your circumstances, the bigger you need to picture your flywheel.

If you're looking at a really big flywheel that isn't moving, before you start pushing it ask these two things:


  1. Is it worth it? A part of you (even a small one right now), needs to say yes.

  2. Am I willing to expect nothing in the short-term? Pushing something really big is not a short-term game. You must be driven by the long-term.

When you're ready, the way to generate hope is to take small actions to start moving the flywheel.

Keep the actions small enough so you can do them consistently, and easy enough so you can do them for a long time.

Celebrate each push of the flywheel.

Over time, the hope will flow.

p.s. This post pairs well with Bad Now, Good Later (two minute read).

Yellow background, blue flywheel in the middle