“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope”
– Martin Luther King
What explains the unprecedented results of Indian election May 2014? One important thread which ran across multiple sections, religions and faiths of people is the rise of ‘HOPE’. People of world’s largest democracy were united by the feeling of ‘collective desperation’ which permeated the rule of earlier government. Hence, when an aggressive, confident and highly expressive leader approached them with a promise of ‘good days ahead’, people once again could ‘HOPE’. They could again hope for fulfilling their aspirations and realizing their dreams.
The power of HOPE has been narrated in many anecdotes and struggles. Whenever despondency had eclipsed the mankind, hope emerged as powerful weapon to fight against all odds and establish a new rule. One such story goes like this…. When the king of Scotland, Robert the Bruce was defeated by the king of England six times in a row, Robert and his army were driven into flight and scattered in the woods. Robert hid in a cave, tired, sick at heart and ready to give up all hope. Then he noticed a spider over his head trying to weave a web. The spider failed many times but finally after many attempts, he was successful. The king was fascinated and decided to try one more time. He gathered his men and they fought with bravery to get their kingdom back. To this very day, victory and independence of Scotland is attributed to the spider which inspired the king.
Hope has also been played upon by various institutions like corporates, religious institutions, influential leaders etc. to push forward their idea, product or opinion. What works almost like a magic is the ability of the leader to connect with the pulse of the people and help them show the vision of what they want. When people are able to think, feel, see and hear about what they want, the mind gradually starts believing into the idea, thought. Some examples of such leaders are Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King who were able to create a vision of change and mobilize millions of people towards it. There are also many examples of failures that were led by misplaced faith based on wrong assumptions and fallacious grounds. Such examples include the rise and fall of Hitler who also connected with the aspirations of people but based it on retribution, resentment and hatred.
This has some important implications on the leaders to understand human mind. Anyone in the role of influencing others needs to be able to engage all mental faculties of their audience to be able to arouse emotions and feelings and give them ‘HOPE’ about desired possibilities. For the hope to survive in the long run, it is must that the leader devotes himself to the needs and aspirations of the people. This would definitely help bring about ‘good days ahead’ for a nation ready to take on the path of progress.