Bryan University Logo


iCSC_toxic_glynholtonReplace wishful thinking with determination to achieve goals

A student, teacher and employer walk into a party together.  Everyone turns to look at them wondering what they all have in common.

The teacher is thinking:

  • “I hope she gets her paper in on time.”
  • “I hope she comes to class prepared this time.”
  • “I hope her presentation is better this time.”

The student is thinking:

  • “I hope I can get some extra credit for the class I missed.”
  • “I hope the teacher won’t call on me.”
  • “I hope I can pass this class.”

The employer is thinking:

  • “I hope she has the presentation ready for the client.”
  • “I hope she doesn’t forget to include the new schedule for the meeting.”
  • “I hope she’s ready to discuss the recent changes we made to the schedule.”

Do they have a chance? Doubtful to slim. Why?  

Because hope is not a strategy … it’s only wishful thinking.

We all have hope; maybe its an essential part of some survival strategy in our genes. It’s not a bad thing, but when we give hope permission to determine our outcomes, we are in for a lot of disappointment.

I don’t mind a little sprinkle of hope, myself, but if there is something I must have, then it’s up to me to do whatever it takes to get it.   We aren’t just bystanders hoping the bus will come by soon.  We are  the best ones to influence the outcomes we want to see.  We increase our chance for success when we take the necessary step. We have hope, but we have something even better than hope: determination.

Now, let me redesign that first scenario: That same student, teacher and employer walk into a party together.  Everyone turns to look at them wondering what they all have in common.

The teacher is thinking:

  • “She sent me an excellent draft; she always gets her paper in on time.”
  • “She always comes to class early and asks me questions before we start; she’s always prepared.”
  • “Her presentations are always great; they are a model for other students.”

The student is thinking:

  • “I missed a class, but I’m catching up on that material.”
  • “I want the teacher to call on me.”
  • “I will do everything I need to pass this class with an A.”

The employer is thinking:

  • “She is always prepared for our client presentations; her practice session with the team was thorough.”
  • “She reminded me of the new schedule. I know she has included it in the meeting agenda.”
  • “She gave me the talking points in advance.  She’s ready to discuss the recent changes we made to the schedule.”

What do you think of their chances for better outcome now?

In college you’re going to run into our friend “Hope” frequently. Hope can be a good friend.  But don’t expect hope to do for you what needs to be done by you.

If you don’t believe me yet, here’s another plug for hope.  Try this the next time you interview for a job: When an interviewer asks you why they should hire you, just say it’s because you hope you can do a good job for them.  Then sit back and wait for that offer letter.

Just don’t hold your breath.


Photo credit:


Request information

And Get a FREE Career Brochure
Return to Bryan Newsroom