Nothing is hopeless. No matter how often people or circumstances try to crush the human spirit, with the least little bit of hope it springs back to life.
We see this trait in revolutionaries. No matter how tired they are and how hopeless their cause seems to be, when they see the smallest glimmer of hope, they reach inside of themselves for that extra burst of energy and that extra ounce of determination and continue fighting.
We have seen people who have been beaten down by life, who have given up and don’t care if they live or die, but as soon as they sense that someone is reaching out to help them, they find the strength to rise up and grab that help with both hands.
And that makes me think that nothing is really hopeless.
I have often said that you have to know when to let go of something, that maybe if you have tried your best and it still hasn’t happened, that maybe it’s not meant to be, and this is certainly a rule I have lived by. But now that I’m writing about the possibility of nothing being hopeless, I’m starting to wonder if I shouldn’t rethink that rule.
In retrospect, the principle of knowing when to stop pushing the river because it flows by itself, has saved me a lot of time, energy, and wasted emotion. But if we can constantly keep being revived with just a little bit of hope and determination, then maybe I should keep pushing that river and see where else I can get it to flow.
Another one of my precepts has always been to choose my battles carefully because I can’t fight on every front. This was a very important realization for me because when I was young, I used to fight for everything that I thought was important. And when I was young, everything was important.
Nowadays, I try to limit myself to just fighting for my principles whereas in my younger days, I fought for every cause that I thought bordered on an injustice. I still fight injustice but I choose my battles more carefully.
I have learned not to be the maverick of lost causes, or at least I’ve tried to learn not to be the maverick of lost causes. For one thing, there are so many of these lost causes that I know it’s impossible to fight for all of them. For another thing, I don’t have the energy of my younger years to fight for all of them.
They say that age makes you mellow. Nah. Age just makes you more tired so you don’t have the energy to expend on all battle fronts. And that’s probably more to the point of why you need to choose your battles carefully because you can’t stay young forever, even if nothing is really hopeless.