HOPE

Charlene Norman
4 min readMay 26, 2024

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What the World Needs Now

I’ll bet you know exactly what the term ‘off-Broadway’ means. No?

It refers to the theatres one over from the main streets on which the Broadway extravaganzas are played. The program directors of the ‘off-Broadway’ sites have to work harder to bring in the foot traffic to put bums in the seats, yet the talent is often just as good, sometimes superior to the talent of the ‘on Broadway’ stages.

Let me use that analogy or context with newspapers. There are the venerable, national or most respected newspapers. (That’s the Broadways of our respective countries.) And then there are also the off-Broadways — the upstarts and the highly specific. The best ‘off-Broadway’ newspapers are known for a very high calibre of reporting, which goes very deep, and for headlines that sell facts, not copy.

Those are the ones I spend gobs of time reading

The biggest hurdle with going very deep on a specific topic, especially one like climate change, sustainability, biodiversity, or even just eco-anything, is developing a thick skin, an alter ego that refuses to get bogged down in the sheer negativity and bad news that is constantly unveiled.

The other day, I felt frisky on social media and admitted that I have always lived by two four-letter words. The first starts with H. HOPE. Every morning, I wake up with Hope in my heart. And every night, I go to bed with Hope in my heart. In between those times is the second word. It starts with F. And we both know what that stands for!

As a young teenager, I developed a reputation for being salty. And these days, I’m pretty sure I am a very salty pirate masquerading as a sometimes grown-up woman.

HOPE

By its very nature, Hope is not a natural construct. Merriam-Webster describes it as an optimistic state of mind based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large. As a verb, its definitions include: “expect with confidence” and “to cherish a desire with anticipation.” For us humans, daily Hope is as important as brushing our teeth or combing our hair.

Have you ever thought about WHY Hope is so important to us?

The other day a dear colleague sent me a note with a link to the Indian philosopher and orator Jiddu Krishnamurti. He was the adviser to Indira Gandhi when she was India’s prime minister. Ms Ghandi was a role model for many women in the ninteen sixties, seventies and early eighties.

Krishnamurti was the wise one who coined,” One is never afraid of the unknown; one is scared of the known coming to an end.”

That really struck a nerve for me. When you look around at the world right now, can you see how many are truly afraid of what they have known coming to an end? From politics and war to education and artificial intelligence, from climate change and rethinking plastics to home ownership and having babies. Fear that our knowns are coming to an end.

Yet, we are all only truly fearful of losing everything we have, want to, or are still hell-bent on having. We are NOT afraid of the unknown. Because we have no idea what unknown means or might bring. NOBODY once had any idea about space travel, laptop computers, social media or cell phones doubling as cameras. NOBODY was afraid of venturing into any of those spaces.

Fear arose only once we were engulfed in the middle of it. When we worried about containing Pandora’s open box. Suddenly, we could see the end of everything we had known on the topic closing in on us. And we did not want what we had ever to end.

Have you noticed how so much of our world is built on a strident need for certainty? Yet certainty is nothing more than an illusion. The only thing constant in our world is change. So, uncertainty is the only thing we can rely on and be sure about.

These days, the rumblings about changing our business practices and lifestyles are getting stronger and stronger. From where I sit, there is a steady tom-tom beat of ‘We gotta do things differently’ and ‘We may not have all the answers, but we still gotta try to do things differently.’

And there is still an even stronger beat of NO: we can’t lose our monopoly, we can’t sacrifice some profit, and we must win at all costs. We better paper over all those facts with these lies and disinformation campaigns.

I don’t have all the answers, and I doubt I ever will. What I do have is a belief that both sides need HOPE. Humanity needs HOPE. And I think it would be best to come together (sooner rather than later) and define what HOPE looks like when it is for the highest good for all.

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Charlene Norman

Inspiring good humans to make a difference for all on Planet Earth. Podcast host, author, and community leader. Fanatical about change for the highest good.