hope bridge by michael underwood


“All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.” 

Winston Churchill


So. Several of my friends give me crap because of some of the obscure things I have stored away in my pea like brain <because I tend to read random obscure things and store it all away>. Therefore they ask me random obscure questions to see what I have stored away. The random question this time?

What is the strongest bridge in the world?

My answer? Hope. Hope is the strongest bridge in the world.

Well. It was a flippant response on my part, but it kind of made everyone at the table sit back and hesitate because it is one of those rare insightful non-smartass flippant responses.

Ok. First.

To be clear. I am not a psychologist <nor psychiatrist> nor am I a behavioral scientist <possible a mad scientist though – a childhood goal>. I say that because I may just not know jackshit. But here’s what I think.

Lots of discussions about the strongest motivators/demotivators on human behavior seem to revolve around fear, love, self esteem, hate , etc. <Maslow stuff>, however, I tend to believe that all these experts overlook hope.

Research digs deep down into the moments of minutiae with regard to why we do the things we do. Heck. That is how the best companies in the world attempt to derive strategies to make their companies <and products & services> a success in people’s heads, hearts & wallets. In my own pea–like brain something shadows each response found in research … hope.


“The present is the ever moving shadow that divides yesterday from tomorrow. In that lies hope.” 

Frank Lloyd Wright


I imagine Hope is so often overlooked as something impactful or something we should pay attention to because it is stealthily present in everything. Yup. Everything. Attitudes & behaviors. Thoughts & actions. And because of its omnipresence it gets overlooked as “non differentiator.”

“Non differentiator”. Absurd. It is everything. It is what someone called “the well of self” which can permit you to begin again and again and again. It is an energy for resilience and progress.


hope bridge feelings“Hope arouses, as nothing else can arouse, a passion for the possible.”

William Sloane Coffin


Everyone wants to be aroused by the possible. And I am not even talking about this in the grandiose abstract <dreams and such> but even in the drivel of the day.

A grocery shopper has the simple hope that everything will be found as quickly as possible.

A coffee drinker hopes that the first sip is everything they expected <and desired>.

A father hopes his daughter has a good day at school.

You get it.

Hope isn’t often the really big things it is in the gazillion little things that happen in everyday life as well as the big “I want a better life” type things.

And maybe that is why I flippantly suggested it is the strongest bridge in the world. It is:

strong enough to span generations of years.

strong enough to span yesterday to tomorrow

strong enough to span the micro-second subconscious thought.

So. As a corrolary to the thought that Hope is an energy source I would then suggest that losing hope deprives someone of an essential structure in Life. They lose the bridge to, well, make it in Life. To be able to get from here to there. To withstand the journey from disappointment today to expectations of a better tomorrow.

Now. That said.

I do believe more of those who actually have hope to share should share it <pragmatically> with those who struggle to reach that bridge.

Yes. I do believe professionally I am a ‘dealer of hope.’

Yes. I do believe all forms of hope, realistic and unrealistic, are better than no hope at all.

Yes. I do believe the moment you have lost sight of how to see, or reach out and touch, hope you have entered some version of Hell.

Sure. Life offers a multitude of disappointments. Life is not easy. But I fear it becomes unliveable without hope because then disappointment becomes infinite in a finite Life. That, my friends, sounds overwhelming distressing even as I type it.


“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.


John Lennon suggested people like me, believers in hope, are dreamers.

Well. Maybe. But Martin Luther King also said this:


“The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to …”


In a way a secure livable world lies with those dreamers. We disciplined nonconformists. Or maybe more pragmatically — bridge builders.drink from well of self

The resilience of Hope lies in we happy few. We happy disciplined nonconformists. We happy believers in hope despite what appears to be an infinite disappointment. We happy few who have bridges to share.

We happy few who constantly drink from the well of self and, well, know how to begin again.

So, yes, the strongest bridge in the world is Hope. As a corollary, maybe the most valuable career one can have is to be a builder of Hope bridges.

Ponder that today.

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Written by Bruce