Monthly Archives: April 2024

Hope and Expectations

A fortnight ago, my student mentioned a book she had read about not having hope and expectations because they cause disappointments. This made me contemplate, as “hope” is one of my favourite words. Hope fuels the human spirit to persevere amidst challenges and ignites positivism and pro-activism. If you want something to happen, you work for it.

Expectations, on the other hand, are projections of our desires. They are suppositions based on guidelines and principles. Joy is experienced when an excellent result (i.e. one that exceeds expectations) occurs. However, expectations breed disappointment when beliefs and assumptions are unmet.

Hope and expectations intertwine. They help us endure our trials and triumphs, propelling us on our journey on Earth. Hope fosters a sense of possibility, inspiring us to aspire beyond reality, whereas expectations provide direction and purpose toward a desired outcome.

I hope the war in Ukraine will be over soon. Pundits expect it to end through diplomatic means and not through the barrel of a gun.

It is crucial to balance hope and expectations because they form the foundation upon which our dreams are built and realities are shaped. With such balance, we can navigate challenges and strive for betterment and fulfilment.

You’ve heard the phrase, “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst”, which means to desire a favourable result while getting ready or making provisions for the worst possible outcome. As a noun, hope can have an adjective before it, e.g. “best”. “Our best hope is that we may be able to identify and avoid those factors that cause it to fail” (Cambridge English Corpus

Can we replace “hope” with “wish”? Does the latter cause disappointment, too? To “hope” is to look forward to a potential future outcome. I hope she will get better soon. To “wish” is to focus on desires related to the present or past. “I wish you a happy birthday” (Here, the word “wish” means “hope you have”). “Hope” is more optimistic and forward-looking, while “wish” can imply unavailability or regret. I wish she hadn’t got respiratory tract infections. (Wish + past perfect tense. Hadn’t “gotten” is also correct) ).

 “There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow”. – Orison Swett Marden (

So what if we get disappointed? Sometimes, disappointment makes us stronger. On the other hand, it’s cruel to insist on giving hope where clearly there is none, as this causes dispiritedness and resentment — things that make our lives more complicated than they already are.