Not sure if you’ve noticed this but every great accomplishment began after someone believed they could accomplish it. Maybe, in the beginning, they didn’t know all of the details or have certainty of what the outcome would be, but what they had was a vision of something more than what is, a desire to do something, what they had was hope.
Life can be hard, failure can feel fatal, and dreams are crushed for many people before they ever get out of bed. Hope is the fuel we need to convince us to take a step notice I didn’t say a perfect step or even the right step just a step. Taking one step followed by another step and another and another is all it takes. It’s hard to see through the clouds your situation if all you do is stare deep into them. You may not be able to see deep into the clouds but you don’t have to.
You’re going to have to trust the next step in front of you. Your being willing to take the next step is all that matters. It may not seem like it, it may not feel like it, but the next step is the only one you need to be focused on. If you do that you’ll shock yourself with what happens.
What we are supposed to be harasses us and haunts us until we do something about it. Often most people never take action. They may start with a dream and then immediately convince themselves that achieving that dream or reaching that destination is impossible because of where they are from, their lack of education, they may believe that because someone told them they weren’t smart that they are too dumb. Taking action no matter how small the action helps to chip away at the wall of excuses we build between where we are and where we want to be.
The things we fear the most are terrified of action.
If fear was a vampire draining of us of hope and robbing our dreams then the action is the sunlight, cross, or a wooden stake through the heart of fear. Notice I didn’t say perfect action, just action.
Action scares the shit out of fear.
In this episode we discuss hope. What’s true hope and how does it differ from false hope?
How do you define hope?
The dictionary defines Hope is defined as:
- 1 a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
- a feeling of trust
- want something to happen or be the case
And defines hopelessness as:
- a feeling or state of despair; lack of hope.
I would define hopelessness the following way:
Hopelessness is the exchange of dreams and belief for fear and the elimination of faith resulting in paralysis.
For a deeper dive read this blog post and share this video with someone who could use some inspiration.
00:00 Speaker 1: Welcome to The Art of Hope podcast, with your host Chadwick Sapenter.
00:08 Chadwick Sapenter: If you're willing to dream bigger than whatever your environment is, then anything is possible.
00:13 S1: It's time to create the path to your success by overcoming your past, embracing your present and outlining your future.
00:20 CS: Today that goal becomes a reality.
00:22 S1: Every journey begins with the first step. So let's begin The Art of Hope podcast.
00:31 CS: Welcome to The Art Of Hope Show. My name is Chadwick Sapenter. Thank you guys for tuning in. This is episode number four. If you are new to this podcast, let me explain a little bit about what's happening here. I made a promise to myself at the beginning of the 2019 that I was gonna do one podcast episode a week. I started off very much scripted, trying to be perfect when it came to putting out a podcast, and that became too time consuming. I run two other businesses. I got a non-profit. I got four kids. I got a wife. I just didn't have as much time to dedicate to writing out the perfect podcast. So what I decided to do was say, "You know what, I can't let that prevent me from following through on my goal and what I said I was going to do." Because it's so important that I'm honest with myself. That I don't lie to myself. That I don't say I'm gonna commit and do things, and then I don't follow through because that's just a bad habit all around.
01:27 CS: So, what you're witnessing here on The Art of Hope Show in this version, is me keeping a promise to myself. And so I'm inviting you all in on this journey of me keeping this promise to myself in hopes that it reminds you that you need to keep some promises to yourself, also. It's not about perfection. It's not about having it all figured out. It's just about execution. You're better off starting, even if it's an imperfect start, than never starting at all. Too many of us have dreams that we've been sitting on that we never execute upon. So, in today's episode, we're gonna be talking about hope. We're gonna be asking a question like, "Why is this show named The Art of Hope? What is hope?" So let me ask you, when you think of the word hope, what comes to mind? What comes to mind? Is it a politician? Is it a promise? Is it bullshit, right? When you think of the word hope, does it just sound like some fluffy nonsense as useless? Is it a job? Is it a relationship, a situation, a goal? Has someone let you down? So you think about how that feels to have hope and then the air to be let out of your tire, so to speak.
02:39 CS: Was it someone who helped you out? Was it a teacher, a pastor, a friend? What is the first thing you think about when you think of the word hope? And so, let's just be clear here, I think hope is a good thing. I think false hope is bad. False hope is somebody setting high expectations about what they're going to do, how they're gonna... Politicians do this all the time. They the greatest bullshit artists of all time, no matter who they are. And I don't care about politics, but I'm just telling you, this is an example we can all connect on. Making a bunch of promises about what they're going to deliver and then when it all begins, they let you down. They don't deliver. And if you're a person that believed in them, and believed in their message, then you feel sad. You feel let down. You feel like you've been taken. You feel like somebody took advantage of you. So false hope is horrible. False hope is lies. It's bullshit. It's not tangible. False hope is air.
03:36 CS: I'm talking about real hope. I'm talking about real hope like just the belief that you can. The belief that life can be better than what it currently is. The belief that there are other opportunities out there than what I'm currently seeing. That's the hope that I'm talking about. And see, now it matters what you believe when you hear or see the word hope because what we believe about our future opportunities and outcomes is most likely shaped by our past experiences and interactions. What we believe about our future opportunities and outcomes is mostly shaped by our past experiences and interactions. So you think about it, every great accomplishment began after someone believed that they could actually accomplish it. Now here's the thing, a person may have set off on a great journey and you... This is America, we have tons of amazing stories about people who have done what people thought was impossible.
04:45 CS: The fact that I'm talking on a microphone right now, you're listening to it on a device, somewhere, some type of device, nowhere near me, is something that people thought was impossible. But somebody had to say, "I'ma take the first step. I don't know if it can actually get done. I don't know if I can be more than what the situation is, but I'ma go ahead and take the next step." See, every great accomplishment began after someone believed that they could accomplish it. Now, maybe in the beginning they didn't know all of the details, or have certainty of what the outcome would be, but what they had was a vision of something more than what it is. A desire to do something. What they had was hope. Now, maybe it wasn't called that, but any entrepreneur, anybody started anything just had hope like, "But I think this thing can work." And see the truth of it is, is this, and most of us will realize this, that life can be hard and failure can be fatal and dreams are crushed for many people, before they ever get out of bed. Life is hard.
05:49 CS: Anybody telling you that if you just follow these next few steps, and that everything's gonna work out, and it's gonna be this oversimplified version of this beautifully packaged solution wrapped up in a bow and if you just do these things, or if you just think positive or whatever the bullshit is that people are saying now. I'm not saying that. Life is hard. It's gonna bust you in your ass sometimes. Sometimes you're gonna get up and you're not gonna wanna get up. Sometimes you're going to fail and you're going to fail miserably. You're gonna fail hard. You're gonna fail publicly, and you're gonna feel the shame and the weight that comes from that. I know I have. Failure can feel fatal. Sometimes our dreams are crushed by our own actions. But for many, and I would say for most people in this beautiful country that we live in, they're crushed before they even get out of bed. People are waking up... No, check that, people are going to sleep believing life is never going to get better and they're waking up to that reality. They don't have hope. See, hope is the fuel we need to convince us to take a step. Notice I didn't say a perfect step, or even the right step, just a step, just man, just I don't know, I'ma go.
07:06 CS: Taking one step, followed by another step, and another, and another, and another is really all it takes. Every great accomplishment is a series of individual steps. Now, it's hard to see through the clouds of your situation. Sometimes it's hard, sometimes all you see is just darkness, uncertainty, hopelessness. Sometimes it's hard to see through the clouds of your situation if all you do is just stare at the immediate situation in front of you. If all you're doing is paying attention to your immediate reality, what's going on, you just look deeper and it's like, "Man, I have no idea how I'm gonna get out of this, life seems like it sucks." If all you do is just stare at that, it's hard to see through that. Now, you may not be able to see deep into the clouds or into the situation, but you really don't have to see all the way through, you don't have to see how it all ends. You just need to trust the next step in front of you. So if you can look down, so if it's foggy all around you, all you have to do is look down. Like, "Look, okay, can I take the next step?" Okay, I'm not gonna step into a pothole, I'm not falling off a cliff here. Okay, take the next step.
08:22 CS: Take a deep breath, you feel a little bit better, more confident, "Okay, I'll take the next step." And that's really it, that next step right in front of you, you don't have to have it all figured out. Perfection is a myth. Perfection is a myth. Not one person has executed perfectly the plan that they set out. Now, some of those changes may have been small, some of them may have been big, some of the things... Some of the products that we use right now, like this is never what they were intended to be used for. But somehow, this thing, this mistake turned it to be a great thing. You just gotta be able to see the step in front of you. You see I also say this, hopelessness, hopelessness, is the most dangerous disease we have. Hopelessness leads to a type of desperation, sedentation, like you're desperate, like you just, "Oh my gosh," like... You make dumb choices because you think... You have the scarcity mindset. You don't think that there's enough out there or you don't think that there's even a opportunity, so this is why people will take dumb chances with their life for what seems like small returns. Desperation is created.
09:36 CS: Sometimes we think that there is a... Like we don't have an abundant mindset, right like one of my taglines, one of my mottos that I've lived with for a long time is, think and live abundantly. Not that I got it all figured out, but my mindset is never going to be limited by my immediate situation. So desperation can set in when we have hopelessness. The other thing that sets in is sedentation, like a sedentary life, just sitting there like you become stagnant, you don't move, right. Like you just say, "Ah, well, you know what, I can't do anything anyway, so why even try? There's no point. That's for them, it's not gonna happen." And then we start listing out all the reasons and people that are examples of why life will never be more than what it is. So we can rationalize it because my mom, you know, this is just kind of what happened, because of where I grew up, because my mom was this, or my dad wasn't around, or I grew up in a really rough neighborhood. So, you know, it's not... You know, it's just tough out here.
10:42 CS: And then you got a whole damn world lining up to pat you on the back for making these damn excuses. You've got people who never lived through any of that stuff telling you it's okay for you to just accept the sad reality, to just be hopeless. I mean, everywhere these people are getting the biggest spotlights in the world to tell you that it's okay to not care, that it's okay to just be hopeless, that it's okay for you to sit down and accept your sad ass reality. You got to get them people out of your life, you got to get them people out of your ear. Stop listening to these people that want to tell you that it's okay to be a perpetual victim. What kind of shit is that? Like, how is that even possible? Like how can you believe that?
11:22 CS: Let's say for example, let's you're a person living in the middle of one of these tough situations, life is hard, you're in a project somewhere, you're in the trailer park somewhere, dad's gone, mom working five jobs, or mom's a drug addict, a pill head, whatever it is, or whatever, I don't know. Keep listening. You're poor, you don't have food, you go to shitty schools, whatever it is. Let's say this is your reality. How does it help you to just throw in the towel? How does it help you to accept that? You have just decided that no matter what, life is never going to change. It takes no effort for you to accept that reality. So what do you do? You say, "All right, well, you know, I'ma pop a pill, take a smoke, whatever, to get my mind off of these things. I'ma stay drunk all day. I'ma make myself a zombie so I don't have to deal with my reality." Now you see it all the time, like I know I saw it all the time growing up, I see it now. But how does that help you? Like it doesn't, hopelessness is a dangerous disease, and it's an addictive drug. You gotta fight that.
12:32 CS: And so, I would go a step further. I would say hopelessness is the most dangerous disease we have. Hopelessness leads to a type of desperation and sedentation, like I just said, and fear that has caused more damage than I think we will ever understand. You look at young women who don't value their body and I've seen it, I've seen with kids in the schools that we're in, and you see, you hear stories of kids, so and so let this group of guys do ABC to her for a bag of Cheetos or $5 in cash up or whatever. That sounds crazy. It is, it's nuts, but it's the reality. When you are hopeless it leads and causes more damage than we could ever imagine. Why do you think you got so many young kids taking drugs and giving up on life? Throwing away dreams? Not caring in school? All of those things, right? And so, for me, I know all too well the weight of hopelessness and what it feels like. So, for a large part of my life, up until I was about seven and a half or eight years old, I just, I believed that death was better than life. I knew that it was inevitable that I was never going to make it to an old age.
13:55 CS: I'm 37 years old now, this is, I'm on borrowed time as far as I'm concerned. I never imagined that this is where I would be. I never imagined that it would even be possible for me to be living the life that I'm living right now, I couldn't see past it, see, I pretty much decided that death was better than the inner pain I was wrestling with and I... I use the word "wrestled" loosely, mostly the inner pain kicked my ass for most of my life, to a point to where the first time I committed... Tried to commit suicide was right after my dad's funeral about eight-years-old, and then I can't count the amount of thoughts or times in between there that I had either considered or actively attempted to commit suicide. And it took me until I was about 30-years-old, a little bit after I met my wife and we got married, where I felt free for the first time. Now it wasn't my wife, it wasn't getting married, like, "Oh my gosh, you got married, and it just... " No, it didn't... No, that's not the shit that's... That didn't do it, right? 'Cause my wife wrestled with me with this, right? So I just wanna be clear on that. That's not what it is, I'm just telling you that's the amount of time that it took me to wrestle with these things.
15:21 CS: And a lot of it was this, it was like, people will try to convince you or say stuff like, "How dare you believe that you can... Who are you to even be thinking that life can be better?" I used to think the craziest stuff and people thought I was an idiot or foolish because reality said that it's not realistic, and there's levels to it, right? So even I'm thinking about my senior high school, I was playing football. This is the first time I'm at one high school for a whole year 'cause I went to four different high schools. And this ain't no sad ass story, so don't be feeling sorry for me, I'm just telling you a story, so I just gotta caveat that, I don't need no damn sympathy. So, let me continue. So I go, I'm getting these calls from coaches, and they're saying, "Hey Chad, we really, we like you, we would like you to come to our college." Now, at the time I had never heard of college before, I didn't know the place existed, I didn't know it was a thing. I didn't know that, what is college, what are we even talking about? And so I'm like, "Man, this sounds good", because at the time I'm in this foster home and what comes next after you leave the foster home is homelessness, right? You sleep on the streets. So I go to my counselor and very stereotypical, Texas high school football shit, where the town is, the town revolves around football, that's just kind of what it was.
16:54 CS: You go watch Friday Night Lights, the TV series or the movie, and it'll give you a good idea of just what I'm talking about, just how kind of ridiculous it is. Well, anyway, I go to my guidance counselor and I'm like, "Hey Miss", and she's super excited to see me, a little bit over the top, right? And at first, she's like, "Chad, what can I help you with? If there's anything I can do for you, you let me know, anything." And so, I told her, I was like, "Look Miss, I just need to figure out how I can graduate on time so I can actually get to college 'cause I keep hearing about this place and it sounds interesting and to be completely honest, my alternatives are the streets." And so she says, "You know what, you know what, I'm sure it's no big deal. I'll help you, you tell me, give me one second, let me go pull your file, and I'm sure it'll be no big deal, we can get this done." So I'm like, "Perfect, I came to the right place" and so I sat there for about, it seemed like an hour, right? It's probably about five minutes. And then my counselor she comes back and she pulls out my file and she starts going through it.
18:01 CS: And have you ever... Have you seen somebody when you can tell when physically when somebody goes from being excited to feeling deflated like, "Oh, this is not good." So I see her go through these stages of hyper-excitement to, "Oh, ooh", and then that really, really sulking, "Oh shit, this is bad." And she once you got to, "Oh shit, this is bad", she turned around and looked at me and said, "Hey Chad, let me ask you a question." And I was like, "Yes ma'am", she said, "So you're a foster kid, right?" And I said, "Yes ma'am." She says, "Well, I don't really know how to tell you this, but you should just drop out right now because it's not realistic for you to go to college. You're a foster kid, and y'all just don't do stuff like that". And then this crazy lady sent me out the office, right? Now here's the thing, she had a belief about me, not because of me, but because of what she thought were my limitations. And so when after I graduated right? She was like, "Oh my gosh, you made it." Right? She was shocked.
19:25 CS: But most of the time is this, is that when you believe that you can accomplish a thing, when you can overcome a circumstance, people will look at you like, "Where on earth do you get the nerve to believe that you could be more than your environment? After all, isn't that all that matters? What do you think you are?" People will literally look at you, ask you, "Who the hell do you think you are to not be a victim of your circumstances like all the other damn victims that are out there?" Often people want to reduce you to your worst moment or the lowest point in your life. For how dare a slave believe they can rise above their bondage and become something or someone of value. The thing that most people don't understand is that the slave, even at their lowest point had value. Inside of them was the person they would eventually become, their chains didn't change that. Does that make sense? Their chains did not change who they already were. It was already inside of them.
20:37 CS: It was already there. The chains didn't change the fact that they were merely a physical obstacle to a spiritual destination. Hey, that's a bar, right? The chains, the chains didn't change the fact that they were already significant. They already had something inside of them. The chains were merely... They were a physical obstacle to a spiritual destination. And the beautiful thing is our spirits cannot be tamed. Our spirits cannot be tamed. Destiny will have its way. Now what we are supposed to be, harasses us and haunts us until we do something about it. Even people who've given up on their dreams are still haunted by those dreams. A good example is this, you know the guy that was all-American football, basketball, baseball player in high school, they made some choices or gave up or the classic, "Coach didn't like me," nonsense. You know this guy or this woman, you know this person, you do. But even now, it's been 30 years, and they still are sick in life, because of what they could have been then, the dream... It never went away. They are still haunted by it by today.
22:13 CS: Walk by any cemetery, you will see more unfulfilled lives, not because people fail, but because they believe the lie and let the physical obstacle, whatever it may have been, hold them back from reaching their spiritual destination. But like I said, what we are supposed to be harasses us and haunts us until we do something about it. Often, and I'm gonna say mostly, most of the time, people never take action. They may start with a dream and then immediately convince themselves that achieving that dream or reaching that destination is impossible because of where they're from, their lack of education. They may believe that because someone told them they weren't smart, that they are too dumb. Taking action, no matter how micro the action is, helps to chip away at the wall of excuses we build between where we are and where we wanna be. It's that simple. Taking action matters. Micro-action, baby steps. One step, one foot in front of the other. Taking action no matter how small it is, it helps to chip away of the wall of excuses. 'Cause you start to realize like, "Oh okay, this isn't that hard," right? This is not that hard.
23:50 CS: I didn't think I could take one step, but I did. Now take one more. Now take one more. And then eventually the damn wall will come down. Just a little chip, a little chip in it, a little crack in the ice, just do it and it will take the wall of excuses that we've built in between where we are and where we wanna be. It'll knock that shit down, man. I'm telling you right now, it will. I don't care what anybody says, I'm telling you it will. And so the things that we fear the most are... The things that we fear the most are taking action. We get terrified of what could happen after that first step. So if fear was a vampire draining us of hope, robbing our dreams, then action is the sunlight. Action is the cross, action is a wooden stake through the heart of fear, right? Action is it. Action is the garlic necklace for the vampire of fear. You have to take action to defeat fear. Action. The next step, the next step, not the perfect step, but just the next step, man. I didn't say perfect action, just action. Action scares the shit out of fear. And so the dictionary describes fear as this, "Fear is a feeling of expectation and desire for certain things to happen. A feeling of trust, wants something to happen or be the case."
24:49 CS: And then it defines hopeless as, "A feeling or state of despair, lack of hope." So here's how I would define hopelessness. Hopelessness is the exchange of dreams and belief for fear, and the elimination of faith resulting in paralysis. Hopelessness is a dangerous thing. So in closing I'm just gonna say this. Take the next step. Hope is a good thing, false hope is some bullshit, but believing that your reality can be better than what it is today, or what it has been in the past, is the first step to actually taking action towards making that a reality. Now the belief without action is nonsense. Right? I think in James, "Faith without works is dead." What are you talking about? You don't believe that your reality can be better if you don't take the first step. Don't lie to yourself, take the first step. Not a perfect step, not all the answers, but just take the next step. And so in closing is this, so what... I'll ask you this question, "What have you been afraid to take action on? Have you allowed hopelessness to suffocate you? Are you currently paralyzed because of hopelessness? What lies have you believed? [27:00] ____.
27:01 CS: Please leave a comment, let me know what questions you have. Leave us a five star review. Don't be giving me no bullshit one star, I don't want that. If I suck, just hit me up, right. But again, make that promise to your yourself, take action towards it and just keep going. You have a great day.