“When you look at a field of dandelions, you can either see 100 weeds or 100 wishes.”

Almost everyone at some time has plucked a perfectly round dandelion, closed their eyes, made a wish, and blown the seeds off the stem: putting their faith in the dandelion.  When considering what one needs in life to be happy, having hope is vital.  And hope is “the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best” or the act of “looking forward to something with desire and reasonable confidence”.  Being a source of this hope for others, just as dandelions are, is a powerful step towards a life of fulfillment.

When walking through Woodbine Park this weekend I was so thrilled to see the hillsides covered in hundreds of “ready to wish” dandelions.  I began to reflect upon some of the wishes I have made over the years.  Some have come true and others haven’t, but I have come to realize that the end result really isn’t what matters.  What matters is that in the moment when I made my wish I felt comforted by the thought that things could work out for the best and I had a feeling of confidence.  This sense of hope allowed me to be happy at that time and move forward with courage and strength.

The feeling of hope is possibly one of the most powerful feelings in the world, even if there is just a small ember of it.  It can produce confident thinking, happy thoughts, motivation, feelings of safety and security, and the will to journey on, even for those who are suffering.  It is also the only antidote to despair.

Napolean Bonaparte once said that “a leader is a dealer in hope”.  According to social activist, Robert Maddox, great leaders fail or succeed based on their ability to be a “Dealer of Hope”.  When you think of the leaders who have made a profound positive impact on the world, they all shared one thing in common: their ability to be a source of hope for others.

Mahatma Gandhi helped us believe we could change the world peacefully.  Nelson Mandela provided a tangible vision of a world where everyone is considered equal.  Martin Luther King gave us a dream we could all dream.  Harvey Milk was a light of hope for gay rights in America.  Richard Branson has shown the world the potential of a single person’s vision.  Oprah Winfrey has been a constant source of inspiration and hope for women across the globe.  Steve Jobs used his passion towards creating a visionary innovative world with unlimited possibilities.  President Obama’s “Yes We Can” attitude gave hope to the world and won him a Noble Peace Prize.

These brilliant leaders created hope where in many cases there was little or none.  The oppressed, forgotten, discriminated, despaired, alone, scared and vulnerable were given a chance to believe that “things will turn out for the best”, that there is hope and the world can become a better place.

Inspiring hope in others is possibly one of the greatest ways to give and help others.  Take a moment now to reflect on how you are a source of hope for others. What is it that you do to help others believe in their dreams?  How can you be more like a dandelion, providing opportunities for others to believe the best in themselves and our world?  I encourage you to take time this week to provide hope to someone who may be feeling a little hopeless.  I guarantee you will both feel better.

(Illustration by the talented Suzanna Dreifelds)

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