Byron's Babbles

Hope Is Not A Four Letter Word

Posted in Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Hope, Leadership, Leadership Development, Planet Zero, Shinedown by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on August 28, 2022

I got to spend quite a bit of quality time in the tractor cab yesterday and spent it listening to Serius XM Octane. They were doing a Shinedown radio day featuring the band, Shinedown. It was an incredible day with the band members telling great stories about experiences crafting their art & staying current. The stories they told were such great leadership lessons. Several times I stopped and jotted down notes. One Shinedown song, Hope (from their new Plant Zero album), prompted this post.

The line “Hope’s not a four-letter word” really got me to thinking how, in many cases it has become a four letter word. But the song also says, “You can be twisted but still optimistic; Be the black sheep but not a statistic; May not know who you are; But you know what you’ve got; So hang on to the absurd; Hey, have you heard? Hope’s not a four-letter word.” That’s pretty good advice. As a believer that specific futures are not inevitable, therefore we need to work toward the change, goal, newly redefined self, or world we want. Hope is worth thinking about because the plausible and desirable ways the future can unfold are practical. We have become addicted to narratives of despair about how “the other side always wins” and “things just keep getting worse” that we tend to blind ourselves to positive trends or downplay our role in being able to bring about positive change.

Shinedown told us in Hope that we should be “Counting the elephants here in this room.” There are things in the world going in the right direction, and there are things trending in the wrong direction. We need to use those “elephants” and have learning conversations to illuminate the right direction. Hope is not a strategy, but it is an attitude and core value that can empower us. We have an obligation, as Hope told us, to “Put on a happy face; Make a scene and leave a permanent trace; Show me that rebel inside; Where the leader of the revolution resides.” Remember, “hope” is not a four letter word.