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#340: The Science of Hope | Jacqueline Mattis

2021-04-21

Today we’re talking to a renowned psychologist who has come up with five strategies for cultivating hope. Dr. Jacqueline Mattis is a clinical psychologist from Rutgers University, where she is also a Dean of Faculty. As you will hear, she did not start her career wanting to study hope. She started out studying spirituality and religiosity, specifically doing lots of field work and interviews in African American and AfriCaribbean urban communities. She wanted to know why people living under high-stress conditions so often choose to be good and compassionate. That research eventually led her to hope. 

This the final interview in our two-week series on hope. The three previous guests approached the topic from a Buddhist perspective. Today, Dr. Mattis will talk about hope from a scientific perspective. How does hope work? And what are the benefits? What she does have in common with our previous guests is that she sees hope as a skill, not as a complacent state of unfounded optimism. 

If, after this interview, you find yourself wanting to put hope to work in your own life, and you’ve got the Ten Percent Happier app, then make sure to check out our new talks and meditations from some of our finest teachers about how to cultivate hope as a skill. Click here: https://10percenthappier.app.link/HopeIsASkill, or tap on the “Singles” and “Talks” tabs in the app to check them out. And if you don’t have the app, you can try it for free today. Just download the Ten Percent Happier app wherever you get your apps, or click here: https://www.tenpercent.com/?_branch_match_id=888540266380716858.

Full Shownotes: https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast-episode/jacqueline-mattis-340

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
For maybe see this is the temper happier, podcast I'm doing Harris, hey Today we are talking to a renowned psychologist, who has come up with five strategies for cultivating hope. Jackal madness is a clinical psychologist from rockers University, where she's also a dean of faculty. As you'll hear, she did not start her career wanting, to study, hope she started out, studying spirituality and religiosity, specifically doing a lot of field work and interviews in african American and Africa Caribbean Urban communities she wanted to know why people living under high stress condition so often choose to be good and compassionate and that research ultimately led her to hope This is the final interview and are too weak series on the subject of hope. The three previous guests approached the issue from a buddhist perspective. Doktor matters will talk about hope from the scientific perspective. How does
hope, actually work. What are the benefits and how do we cultivated? What having common with our previous guess is that she to seize hope as a skill and not as a blind or complacent state of unfounded optimism. If, after this interview, you find yourself wanting to put hope to work in your own life maybe in your own meditation practice and you haven't. I have the ten percent happier app then make sure to go check out our new talks and meditations from some of the finest teachers are about how to cultivate hope as a skill just tap on the singles or the talks tab in the EP to check out the new stuff. Don't have the app. Maybe now is a good time to try it out. You can do so for free, just download the ten percent happier app wherever you get your Here we go now with the Doktor Jacqueline Metis Jacqueline Maddest, thanks for coming on the show Q. This is exciting. I'm glad to have the opportunity to have this conversation with you at meter. So how'd you get interested in hope either
At the beginning, I was interested in hope. I don't think I thought about hope. As a hi Mary way of doing the work. I do I started my work being interested in spirituality and those in stood in how people once said side that they believe in something how that decision ultimately inform their willingness to do good and be good, and it was through that work and talking with people about what believing in a god or system of God's ultimately does for people, and ways in which people's decisions about being good in the world is impacted by their belief, one of the things that came up in those relations with the sensors if you believe that something bigger than you without their then, ultimately, it's hard not to be hopeful and so
The conversations about hope, sort of came out of conversations about belief, particularly belief in the presence of hardship. So I came to hope through the sort of backdoor before we talk about hope, just curious. Why did you want to look at belief? What brought you to that, I think it's a combination of personal circumstance and my own family experiences and how they were sort of mapping on to the work that I was doing when I was a graduate student, so I grew up in Jamaica, came to the United States. My mother always talked about the fact that you couldn't explain are here from are there meeting as she certainly participated, and so gently pushed us as her kids to become a magic to do well in the world, an educational, and otherwise you couldn't predict from the great grandfather she knew who wasn't enslaved person right, I'm out on you she didn't know him personally, but Sheikh you can
explain the movement from a family that was enslaved to a family where my mom graduated from Columbia University with a graduate degree, and she was able to put her for had through college mildest brothers, a physician Emma professor me, I'm sisters, a business owner and my other brothers and I T director, so you couldn't explain our here right. The people that we were. We had the opportunity to become. You can explain that for the places where our family started in turn. But the family history, that we knew and she always attributed that journey to have faith, and to the ways in which faith pushed her to do things and push members of our family to do. That which is uncommonly beautiful and hind moments of self second, vice moments of some working against the odds and thinking about that faith was rude of her hope and one of the things that I learned about organically from my family was the realities of the
and of optimism where you can't really explain why your optimistic because it's nothing in the world around you that we should explain why. I used to believe something good is going to happen, but that kind of optimism is what pushes people to do the unexpected and to risk everything is what explains in a lot of ways the ways in which people end up being six full. However, you define success, and so for me the study virtuality was away a sort of trying to understand like what, when my mom talk about faith, but she also inculcated in us. What is, a thing. And why do people who believe in God or in something bigger than themselves? Even if they're not religious, what is that thing called faith and does it work and how does it exactly leads to the sense of hope, because it was no literature around that, and particularly not for Africans. Organs, and so I wanted to study it because I was watching it happened in my own family. You say she inculcated
can you do you have faith and or are you religious? I am both. I do have a strong sense of faith and I am someone who is both religious and spiritual, absolute what you're tradition? So I grew up in the christian church I was raised about his church. I don't necessarily align with any particular denomination, but I do identifies a Christian and for you, when we talk about your mom, but does it work the same way for you does believing in something larger than yourself and in this case the story of God. His only son give you hope it does. It does and that same model that I saw in my mom and my grandmother and in people in my family that same model of you, ve gotta, expect that thing I'm going to work out for the good weighed and you ve got expect that you are responsible for it dissipating in that work, but not just for yourself the thing
was most profound from me and watching my mom sense of faith in my grandmother and my grandfather sense of faith was what it led them to do for other people made and so my siblings, I can't ever remember how many people were in our home, other kids, who were in our home, who my mom raised by, but I think we, I'll stop somewhere around eighteen or twenty there are a lot of kids that were part of our home who their families couldn't care, for all the kids were being abused and Jamaica didn't have a foster care system, so families had to try that if they drop their kids off or left their kids at someone with care for them and our homes, space was a space where my mama just care for other people, and so I grew up with the constant message as it can, Saturday or Tuesday, and we would have to make room on our beds or make room in the doors for the next set of kids for them to join us as our new cousins in quotes and my
up that way. My grandmother is twenty six children other than the fourteen kids that she had, and so we grew up and family, where, regardless of the fact that our families did not have means some, somehow or another that sense of we are responsible for loving? people through the worst moments of their lives, and you dont ask questions you just do it and you expect that what you need is going to be provided to you somehow and our friend we lived. Experience is evidence that that happens way that, if you just me The decision that the details will work themselves out. You dont, let people live in harm. You have to allow people to live to love and you're responsible for Korea that world we ve seen it, over and over again we see the consequences and the benefits of it. So I faith to our question that one is: could you have that same motivation to hell?
people without faith, and the second is: can this kind of faith ever lead to decisions that might actually be unwise? Yes, yes to both their losses people who don't believe in God, people who s ears but who are spiritual, and I think this is a place where I've learned. The distinction between will adopt the UN's virtuality rights have a legitimacy requires, we do believe in God and participate in structures and rituals are attached to the worship of a god. That certainly describes people like me, spirituality is about an appreciation of the sacredness of life and the cognition that if life is sacred than there are certain things that you never let happened to another living thing and there are people who are atheists, who are quite spirit and that spirituality and the faith in the sacredness of people, as opposed to the faith in God, is what leads people both religious end atheist, to make the decision that they are going
here for others and the leads them to make that decision on the basis of the essentially the hope that doing so is going to lead to good things for the other. So I think that one asked we can have a sense of faith that is now rooted in religion and be enormously hopeful and also just enormously good? So, absolutely from me, it just happen. That is the way that I was raised. My meaning making systems are attached to my sense of faith in God, and what about the second part of question of chemicals faith everything's gonna work out? Could it be you down on wise roads, absolutely There is such a thing as unrealistic optimism and people can a misguided sense of optimism and misguided sense of hope, and that can lead people to take risks, are dangerous. It can make people
I assume that things are going to work out that are absolutely not going to work out. They can make attributions two things that actually pretty dangerous for them to make contributions around and so their ways in which I hope can actually lead you down the wrong road. If it's not rooted in a thoughtful appreciation of how the world works of the data in one's own environment. One can take really problematic risks, but there's a way in which even things like we talk about bystander effects right where thing is going wrong for a particular person, and there are people around who are watching and no one entered means there's a way in which that bystander effect may be rooted in a hope. Right, so some people may be rooted in fear that I'm not gonna innovation, because I'm afraid of what will happen if I do but there's a way in which some people don't use to intervene, because their hopeful that somebody else will buy that's one of the ways that hope can in some
is led to an abandonment of one's own responsibility, an abdication of one's sense of action to and responsibility for the other and that in a number of ways as dangerous as we can see some can go wrong in a couple of ways. One would be even if you have faith any unworldly or other worldly. You do have to put your you: don't finger in the wind to get a sense of like what's going on in Turkey, known terrestrial terms and then other way is that you can just blindly hope that other people will deal with the problem and you don't have to yet absolutely you know we took by the fact that hope is optimism of the plan and, to the extent that one stays in the world of it's all, just to work out than one is optimistic, and in some cases that optimism is rooted in a kind of fantasy, because you don't have any data to suggest that things will work out by for someone who's, truly hopeful. You do have to do the work you do have to take a stand
back and look at the world around. You read the wrong way and read the past and put them pieces together in a way that nereids you to the because I know this thing has happened in the past, because I know that my circumstances are similar or different in these ways I can make up reasonable expectation that these things will work out so hope rooted in data. It's not fantasy, and yet you you are describing your mom's world view, which is you can't explain our here from our there. I think you described a kind of hope that you couldn't make sense of given the world around them. So does that fit with what you just said? It does in the sense that one of the things that people point out when they are looking at That seems unfathomable and a president that you couldn't explore, from that pass. If you dont connect the dots way. So if you don't look at the intervening pieces, the start point in the end point
no sense. But when you look at the intervening pieces, which is where the whole. Comes from and where the data comes from, one of the things, if I'd I'd, make us up a personal story, one of the things that my family talks about is the fact that the ban first person in our family, whose name we know is SAM Eastern and he was named for the man who owned him and said Eastern made the decision to work to by himself out of slavery, and then he bought his twin sons out of slavery, and his wife unfortunately died in slavery, because the person who owned her kept raising the price on her. So he was able to purchase her freedom. He made choices. Along the way and their choices that we're facilitated by a number of people in his life at the time, as far as we know, but he had a plan for a set of actions. That ultimately led to certain outcomes for him, he told himself. Meeting right after he bought him
out of slavery and he bought land that became land that his sons on so their decisions. All along the way that had a different. Vision been made a difference The outcomes would have happened both for them and for us generations later made so to say that you can't predict are here. From our there is not to say that is truly inexplicable, but to say that one has to say This whole story with a sense of awe of how, amazing life can arc itself towards something really good, and that arc is an hour that is partially made by us, but it's its partially made in the front people who spiritual by a who has no boundaries, Wade has no bounds and who can
via a life in ways that we couldn't on our own, when I put myself in Sammy since shoes, I think like one of the miracles there is that he didn't take matters into its own hands. Visa visa slave honour, a wooden together, the price on his wife, there absolutely yeah the decision to keep focused on goodness to make one life different from the and entered carry on one's life in a way that is different from the life of those war around you re, so the morality of slavery and the brutality of it, to live through that and become loving and to be dedicated to love that strawberry, but that's a daily decision by and that's a deal decision is rooted in the idea that one doesn't have to become the person who is in that sort of immoral position, you can become difference and you have to him I that day data day like what that different could be, especially if you don't see other eggs
samples of it but again as one, reasons why that connection between faith and hope is so powerful for me, is a pope requires a sort of Frederick imagination, I urge you to be able to see something that you don't see in front of you right now and to a man Jeanette in enough details that you can work towards it and recognise the p. It is a bit as you're moving towards it, but the fine line there is, you still have to read the room. You have to have prophetic imagination, but it needs to be grounded in some data. Absolutely absolutely so. You've got to have models. You have to see something in your world that suggests that some piece of this as possible and just keep working towards that end. Any in some ways you make the possibilities y see if your loving and you have a wife was loving or you can these twin sons who become loving. You see the data manifesting in your own world and you keep working at it, but we, I'll have models, we all have models of goodness. We all have models of the impossible.
Mason may have had really good parents. Absolutely absolutely. And I'm sure, SAM East and looked around him and saw you know the thousand people in his world. He saw some who were engaging in behaviors and living in ways that he made a decision. I will never be that's and others who he said want to be like this particular person in these ways, and he crafted himself into view of that. I think we all Mitchell this in our lives about who we are going to become as well. Becoming and those choice every day, pay off one way or another for good or bad. Now, you're getting close to the vote, this notion of karma yes, absolutely absolutely! We ve gotta be very careful about the choices that we make
So let's go back EU the choices you made early earlier academic career, so you really got interested in your mom's narrative and started to explore whether you could build up the scientific literature there Then you got onto hope, so Walker what you're early findings were in the in the zone of hope, so the first thing studies that I did that looked at virtuality more about that. Commissioner spirituality. Maidens I wanted people to define. When you say you're religious, what do you mean and when you say spiritual. What do you mean those asking african american women in particular this question, and one of the things that came up in those conversations was I'm sorry virtual, I'm religious, because I have to believe that there is something bigger than theirs. I have to believe there's something better than this ahead and so every day the decisions that I make are about trying to live into that version of the life,
to be better than this. It has to be more meaningful, and so the beginnings of a conversation about hope came with definition of spirituality and religiosity. But the work that I was when that really serve anchored. For me, a real interest in hope came in, doing a study on altruism in low income, urban communities, and particularly among African Americans living in low income, urban communities and the decisions that people may when they have extremely few resources so Women who had only literally twenty dollars to their name and a month ago, for they would be able to get it a paycheck from whatever jobs they were working, the decision that they made to use that twenty dollars to buy food for somebody else, because their decision was that person's hung, we're than I am, and I can make it is between whether I spend the money on me
I do what I think I'd expects me to do, which is to care for somebody else who can't care for themselves right now, those d those were always rooted in a sense of I don't have to worry about what's gonna happen because somehow or another is gonna work out. Ok and it was those kinds of decisions that ultimately lead needed, attention to hope is the self sacrificing decisions that people with very few resources made or people who had everything on the line. So you know some of them. Articles that I've written I talk about women who they were, leaving on social service aid and there office of rules and guidelines around who can be in the house and whether or not you can taken someone else and mother after mother. I talk to theirs some other mother who was struggling in some way with addiction. Or depression or anxiety and could not care for their children, and these bombs were taken children and they knew if a social workers showed up on the spot visits
and saw these other kids and knew that they were living there. You would lose your kids and you would lose everything and they had to make the decision. Why let another family suffer or do I made The decision that, if I am careful and make sure that nobody outside you know the ports of entry Care of these kids that I have to take care of these kids dont want them going into foster care and surveyed the parents. Made enormous sacrifices and took enormous risks, but they did it because they ultimately realised the difference between this child being ok and being ok, it's someone stepping in and doing the right thing and they sort of may the decision? I'm leave us to God or I'm gonna leave us to the universe to have it worked out, but I can't make the decision to leave a child in harm or in harm's way, and so
altruism, is rooted in a profound sense of hope, and that for me, sort of brought that conversation to the four. It's a fascinating path that you took here following your interest. Can you define hope so in order to define hope, we need to define optimism. So optimism is a orientation towards a future where one expects that things will work out well in. The future. Hope is that same sense of expectation that Future events. Future experiences will work out, but the second piece of Hope but people talk about is an agency mindset where you don't just expected things will work out in the future, but you also anticipate that there is a plan that will get you there and you engage them in some ways. So hope is optimism. Future.
Station with a plan so I'd love to hear more about what you learned when you really turned your attention fully to hope. So One of the things that I learned is that people will indeed take enormous risks in the service of hope it. So There are lots of decisions that people would you'd. Look at someone who is making a decision to help a child who you know If someone found out, you would lose your children and those kids would be sent to foster care anyway and there's something about the human spirit that says I have decide what the values are, that I need to live into and mean into and that Those values are going to be the thing that hope drives spite and that ultimately drive my sense of hope. So, a radical commitment to care in loving, is
rooted in and also cultivated by a sense of hope and hopefulness fatal, when you think about the decisions that all of us make about whether we're going to spend the x the time that we need with the person that we need to spend time with when we know that we have other things that we need to do, but the decision that somebody his life and pain means more to us than any other out combat He can worry about and so where'd you gonna hold back, we are going to be ok, because this experience this person, this situation deserves attend, I'm just going to have to figure the rest of it out, and I trust that it will all work out. Ok, so digging deep into this work, around hold led me to realise that hope forces you to come. Fire values, and once you clarify your values, it helps you to double down on hope and to that's one thing that became clear
one of the other things that became clear as a lot of the litter sure that I was reading on optimism and hope talked about this notion that never theory that psychologists have held onto fourth quite some time for the conservation of resources. Theory and the argument there is that people with resources. I have good reason to be optimistic. They have got me to be hopeful, because the things that they need already there. They already have the resources they need to survive, but that optimism and hope, also become resources that help you to do the things that you need to do and that, ultimately, whatever decisions people make are intended to prevent, loss of resources. They try to prevent yourself from losing money from losing time etc, but he also work to try to prevent yourself from losing optimism because he realized, if optimism is fuelled you through to the next thing in your life, you don't want to lose as to your own optimism. So you can serve. That is our resources, while the men cereal end of conservation of resources. Theory never made sense to me
I grew up among working class people and people who are poor. I saw in the communities go up in lots of people who were deeply hopeful right. There not irrationally hopeful. They were working hard to make things work out for themselves, and if you look at the folks. I grew up with an answer. I grew up around, even if people did become materially secure, they were able to put children who were wonder for human beings. Conditions that would suggest that wonderful human beings couldn't grow up air raid. So a lot of that is about being able to imagine your children into a future that ever single day, you have to make the decision about. How do I love this child into decision making. How do I look child into being a loving person and honest person? A caring person and parents did that every day, and so you know- kids, who were involved in activities that no kid
be involved- and I did clinical work with kids were involved in gangs and most the kids that I worked with were involved in gangs because they were trying to protect people. They did it. Love and he did it out of a sense of hope. That if they gave up their own freedom, their own ability to compete, their own lives and in certain kinds of ways that they could protect people who are part of their families, friendship, core, etc, and again, there is a sense of I believe. A good thing can happen and I have to plan my way through it and the way that I am going to play my way through it is by making decisions that may cause me, but for the benefit of other people, so the enormous sacrifices that can come from hope also came through. I love to talk about hope right now. You're there culminating final guest in the series Doing on hope on this part cast an damn. Women about the fact that work? Can u S moment for hope
in this country and for the species be no globally because it looks like the pandemic is kind of Why are you down, but do you know we now know about these variants? We don't know about the weather blend of people will take the vaccine and etc, etc. So, but I think many of us, if not every single one of us, is hoping to return to some sort of normal see so well. How do you think about hope right now from Europe, professional and personal perspective, I know that there are lots of folks who are thinking about This is a time of particular pessimism and perhaps it because I'm someone who is hopeful that I had this particular perspective. I also see this is a time of enormous hope, ray and so one of the things about hope that I think, is powerful if you know, We still have choice. You still have reason to hope number one We saw that when there is a crisis
You have scientists who do the work for them need to do and that ultimately led to the outcome that we all are? Anticipating is the best outcome, which is the getting up a vaccine right and it then it happened, and that's because choices that people have made right choices that they made before they became scientists to become scientists, but also choices about how they were gonna pivot. In this moment to do better the kind of work, and even in this moment ass. We see these interesting dialogues where there are some people who choose to do things like where mass protect not only themselves but others and others who choose not to the fact that every when still has a choice, gives us reason to hope. There's a reason to think for those for me in decisions that are actually quite dangerous for the health of themselves and others. They still can be, hopefully moved. If not converted to recognise that they have the option of doing something beneficial for people outside their own, immediate, sir,
the things that could actually be beneficial to us all and until the stories over every day they still have the opportunity for choice, and so there is good reason to be hopeful in that regard. But in a way we look. In a larger landscape we, see that we have options about whether we can approve it to do different things when it comes to taking care of our environment. Why? We know that we have choices People who are exercising those choices and if we look at the data, the people and the nations the communities that are making different kinds of choices that are helpful. Choices are seeing some of the benefits of that so little of our hope in this moment is in recognising that we are never in a choice, free environment and the choice. Is that we have still on are played our choices. That could actually led us to optimal outcome
so these are moments to still maintain a sense of hope, but if the outcome rest some people that we cannot control, where do you muster the whole scene? I think this is a beautiful about hope. Human beings have always been social animals. We have never been in an environment where decisions that we make only west without that would require us to live in a fantasy world. So we ve all always lived in environments where the decisions that we make have implicate for others in the decisions. Other people make have implications for us, but when we think about the reality that we are deeply into connect, and there are some situations where the stakes don't feel that high and there are others, whether they are clearly higher, but our choices always impact each other and so recognising that we recognise them he's been enough people who make the decision to do the right thing and to mean in ways that their decisions actually are beneficial to other people in really meaningful ways that we can use.
As the model and we We have some measures of control over the behaviour of other people. If we choose to exercise those rights of their some nations that have made the decision you don't. Choice about whether or not you wear a mask. If you dont worry ass, you can, find or you will be jailed one way or another way. I'm not guessing that we do that in this country. But when we pretend that we don't have options, then that law to this end to only certain possible outcomes. If we I recognise that we have options. Then we have the opportune the change outcomes in particular ways but it met with our leaders, and it was with us it's a simultaneous kind of decision. I give and take. How are you junior own hope or lack thereof at this kind of interesting inflection point in human history? I think about a couple of things, one of which is my own privilege. You know, I think about
the fact I'm enormously privileged, wait, I'm living in a country that has multiple vaccines that are really support Did I have family members who can't say that makes a lot of my families in the Caribbean at family in Europe in an end places in the world and so on. About the fact that I live in a space where I am access to resources and the way that I was raised by my mom and the way that my siblings and I were raised its to think about the fact that we're we're responsible to take them which that we have and double down and help other people wait till I have the option to do really good work right now I have the privilege of having a job that is dignified work that allows me to be able to. Care for other people, in this moment what I've been leaning into is just an enormous sense of gratitude and real decision to use that Sense of gratitude to I myself to make the decisions about what am I
to do today. That is meaningful. That will be helpful to someone other than myself and if I can do that if I feel like I'm living life of purpose, and so I'm sort of in that particular place right now there's a place. I try to be in no matter what it seems like you. Maybe your hope is focused on your personal age. See you in a micro sense, rather than the macro sense of will we, you know, be able to go back the movie soon, because you know that people get vaccinated before the variants take hold its MIKE, Mechlin interests and says it's MIKE when the sensitive I haven't places about what I can do and the ways in which I can operate and there's an appreciation that, if enough people make those decisions in a way that our outward facing, that we can also they do some good things together its macro in the sense that I believe that, if all of us sort of think about what are the most important thing
for us to be aiming towards rights as a community. What is our goal here right and a sort of narrow, since the aim might be the Wearer mass courts had just get to a point where we can all start going outside again in a larger since then a real commitment to this is a really great time for us to really think about who we are to each other right, because the pen What is happening at the time that other really major social movements are happening and movements around social justice are happening, and so I'm not worried about being able to get back to to a movie theater, but I am worried about and really in It's not about thinking, when we start operating in large numbers again Can I be sure my nephews are going to be ok bye. How can I be sure that the institutions that we're all participating in really use this moment as a moment to think about what
We learn in this moment that we can actually capitalize on that. Could allow us to do some really good things for each other and with each other rate, as a part of a university were seeing that people can work from home and take care of their children. Ways that actually allow families to thrive. We're going to use these moments to say? Why did we? you work life, the way that we did before other than the fact that is always how we have done it How can we be more humane, more humanistic in the way that we organise the line that we lead so that we can meet the needs of our families and community, so is real opportunity in these moments. To think about. Is it about a haircut? Is it about access to the movies, or is it about opportunity he's too leverage what we have learned in ways that can allow us to do good things and then can we plan towards it right to look to the future and see what we could do differently and then think about in the moment. What do we do to get there I'm hearing in their two things. One is a focus on,
really matters obviously mean a lot of us care, but the movies. But what is more important is thrive. Families, and the other is a real, deliberate attempt to look for potential positive outcomes while grounded in you know present moment reality absolutely absolutely the way home been handed down to us from our forebears, I mean about the greek myth of Pandora's box. I would spend a long time set a classics and college, but my recollection is pandora. Opens this talks which she's had been told, not open and out of which comes a parade of Horrible's Nuno death grief Agnes whatever and then the last thing is hope. I always read that as like a twisting of the I feel like golly. I will give you all the way to keep you sort of this false fuel of blind hope that at some point it will stop sucking. But what
your take on that, and how should we? How should we look at? How dare you don't get to write the handbook on hold in some ways. I think it's a beautiful and powerful story right, so We know that people impotent. Miller, who have lived with lots of barriers, lots of I'm challenges in life, but been able to maintain a sense of hope. Like the in some ways they become the models of hope for us. I think that yet I talked about my great grandfather. I can't think of a life in terms of the condition that is more horrible than being enslaved by their people who lose family members to war to all sorts of things and they still have Sense of it will ultimately be ok, and you know why I know it's going to be ok, because it was ok.
Yesterday, and I did these particular things to make it okay and these people did these things to help me, make it ok and I did it for them as well. So I think in some ways that even the story of Pandora is story of what it means to be human right and to be human in the most vulnerable sense, which is the the vulnerabilities, what we all fear, but that message of despite the challenges, despite the horror at the end of the day, I'm not leaving you with a horse. That's not the last thing you can end up with you gonna end up with the capacity to protect yourself into a future where things asked they will be ok and I'm gonna leave you with a sense of agency to be able to get their so use the horrors as we sort of reading. What am I got from this experience so far? What am I learned and then hope your way, Imagine your way into a different set of alternatives. You can do this, I think, is a great way to enter a myth, so the hope wasn't a twisting of a knife. The hope was yes. Life is going
Difficult, but here's this fuel that will allow you to surf and transcend absolutely so it yeah, I hope, is not the end is not the knife. It's it's the bridge, it's the fuel, it's the food that due to the next good place, did see the refutes it just came out. There's a documentary about Tina Turner, unhealthy Tina. Turner turns I mean I'm vaguely where Tina Turner, Madame nearly fifty and I was alive and sentient in the eighties and private debt. There was on my radar and, what's love got to do with it, etc, etc. Turns out by the way she hated that song did one we're goin, but any Tina Turner was raised by sharecroppers who abandoned both mom and dad left and she ended up being raised by a cousin, learn how to sing in church
Cotter randomly met this guy named Ike Turner, who changed her name to Tina married her and beat her ruthlessly for years and through all of these hardships, Tina Turner was really hopeful and ended. Emerging from a horrible childhood into a terrible marriage emerging that marriage leaving Ike behind and then becoming after leaving IP, and on her own, a global mega star. All of this success we know about Tina happened after all, hardships so anyway, this is coming to mind as an avatar of hopefulness. Yes, absolutely all of us have those moments where again against eyes, there's something any that tells you. This is not for me, wait we ve, had those moments where it's the teacher, who tells me you can't do the thing and you say essentially,
just gonna have to have to deauthorize that, because it is not for me, I know what I'm going to be able to do. I'm not gonna be a doctor. I know I'm going to be a lawyer. No I'm gonna do this thing. All of us have those moments and it's the it's one of the biggest gifts Life is those that sort of intuitive moments. I tell you now is not the end game right there something out there. That's better and some people can imagine it indeed help. Other people just help sort of resonant feeling a bit. But I can imagine that for Tina Turner that sensitive when you're left by your parents, someone came to get you rights of here's. A reason to be helpful way is that someone and to be optimistic heap. Someone came to you, you didn't have to out your life alone right along the way, the story of who ends up being the global Mega star is story of people who make friendships with you and the teachers who pay attention to you and the woman who decides to help you you're out how the thing that no solely every, one's life is pastiche of all
these moments of people making decisions to love you into a reality that sometimes they can imagine for you and sometimes They can't imagine that far, but they can imagine this moment and so horrible for the global Mega star wasn't just about Ike it's about. Whoever else came along the way to make the decision to do the thing I mean when I talk to people in studies that I do about how they got to be where they are Invariably there. Let me tell you about it police officer who took in when my family couldn't take care of me. Then did us the studies on altruism police officer and his wife raise twenty heads over the course of their lives. Twenty kids were not there all right dad for boys they just kept taking in kids, who were getting trouble we're having struggles in a variety of ways and all of those kids about you know. Mister Rivers sergeant members was the person
you saw me was like you're getting in trouble. You come home with me and he just kept taking me home by the window. Tell the story of who they became ass lawyers as teachers, etc. They could, the story about the parents were unable to take care of them, or they could tell the story about Mister and Missis. Worse and all the people that came into the rivers household and in the teeth, who said do you know you argue a lot. You should be a lawyer right and who imagine you into that existence when you couldn't have imagined it, but the glue of life, is that our own? are these infinities of movements of people, hearing and attending and being aware and loving us into, as well as the people who don't do that who do the opposite? But it's the stitches of all those people who make the decisions to care and attend and lead and teach that leads us to the places that we get to be in.
Much more of my conversation with Doktor Jacqueline Mattress read after this. Everyone like shopping online but searching for coupon codes can be a bummer, so make saving online a breeze with care. But a one shopping capital when shopping, is a free tool that instantly searches for available coupon codes and automatically applies them a check out just download capital one shopping to your computer and let it do the work for you so easy and you don't even need a capital one card to use it capital when shopping. It's kind of genius. What's in your wallet savings and available coupons, very ten percent happier is brought to you in part.
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Let's talk about how we can generate hope as a skill? I know you ve got these five strategies that you discuss. Space on your work. So the first one, I believe is start with goals. Tell us about that. So, in order to be able, truly be hopeful? You have to have an end game. So there's something you have to be moving towards some outcome: that you have to hold as meaningful and as a final outcome that you're trying to move too, so the hopeful person has to That's some goal! If you decide that the thing that I want to be as successful and being successful for me means I'm to be a lawyer, or I'm going to be the kind of person who people can rely on. Regardless of what profession I take up. You ve got to have some goal that you set. That is, winter allow it be able to tell when you ve reached there when you ve, achievable
final outcome of once sense of hope. There's gotta start with goals This seems in line with what we are discussing before about the difference between practical actual hope and fantasy? Absolutely absolutely yeah, and it is So what distinguishes to some degree optimism from hope, so optimism can be a sort of generalised sense that things are just gonna work out. Ok, Well, what would that look like? How do you know that? It's ok, the ads to that, like the hopeful person has to have a very clear answer, because it if you're gonna, A pathway. Remember that hope, is optimism of the plan. The plan has to be leading you to something specific, and so one of the things that you have to do is have a very clear sense of what the goals and outcomes are strategy. Number two is harnessing the power of uncertainty it does that mean it means reckon I think that it is a fantasy. That we can control the world tat. We live in a weakened.
Towards outcomes, but we never quite know what's going to happen and one of the things that research demonstrates is that there are people who, certainty leads to a sense of anxiety. So my sense that I can't control the world, and I dont know how things are going to work out. Leads me to us, then said: well, I didn't can't control anything in there is nothing that I can do to make the elk Instead, I am interested in happen. But there are some people who, even against all odds, say if what I want is not certain, then politically. What that means is that, in a pool of possibilities that the thing that I want is in those possibilities re. So if it certain what I'm gonna become. And I really want to become a lawyer being a lawyer, is in there and along the in the same way, that being a doctor or being a shopkeeper or being someone who is not employed like all of these are part of the possibilities. So, if the,
that I want is part of that, since the possibility that there still reason to be hopeful, wait if you take away all past qualities that my sense of hope will go away in and then I have to deal with depression in the malaise that comes with that, but leaning into a sense of certainty is, if you can't tell me that is absolutely impossible that I'm going to become The thing that I want to be, if you can't tell me, that- and you have no good reason to be able to tell me that with certainty, then be anything that I want to be and is how people the authorize folks who tell them that they can be things I certainly have a kind of teachers who told me that I wasn't gonna be able to go to college or I was never going to be able to be successful in certain things for a whole host of reasons, and it never dawned on me to believe them in part, because I had a mother who told me no match this part of the possibility me can be a doctor the teacher. You can be anything that you want, and so my mother set for me away. A sort of China
during those uncertainties and it's what we do is we lean into the uncertainty, sometimes as a way of saying everything's possible, including what I want the suicide, I've hopeful way to look and uncertainty and then a fearful way to look at an absolutely yeah. I mean I too, I usually, but why I've wired? To take this? The latter approach, I see uncertainty. I think well, no paycheck guarantee Here are not, I I love everything about because its funding So how do you get yourself into the mindset of yeah? Look at uncertainty as good? for me, rather than fraught with peril. The thing that I lean into is does it serve you to sort of devolve into the fear.
Because if it doesn't, then you you have the option of not doing that. I said that thing is this story doesn't serve you stop telling that story and give it to another story that can serve you well relative to the goals that you want to achieve. So that's part of the thing that we need to do. The other thing is to think about. How realistic is a story that you're telling weight. So if the store that you tell yourself is visit, I'm going to come out to be a horrible fiery mess that I wouldn't I'm never going to be able to be successful at this thing if we walked back through your life, and we look at the actual data of your life. Is that story accurate and in a lot of cases, the story, the people hell when their anxious and when their depressed is a story that actually doesn't match with the full realities of it. Sometimes it matches with very particular Slices of store is like the moments that they failed relative to the millions of moments when they succeeded, so
One of the things it is important to do is to go back through into say, well, ok, so you believe that this is going to be a horrible fiery. Messing you're, never gonna be able to do this thing, but less walked back to the moment when you did this thing and you ve done that thing more often than you have not been able to do it, so the full story of your life is that you are very successful at doing the thing that you are most afraid of doesn't invalidate the fear, but it doesn't give you permission to stay in that place because the data doesnt support it. Yet I know I've been kind of, Not entirely desire sleep but kind of playing the role of house pessimist here, but I stop personal stories coming to mind as you keep talkin about this. I love your term of DE authorizing naysayers. I about ten years ago in the middle of writing, a book called ten percent happier, which is that what this package is named after I was talking to a colleague
simply well known. Her name is Barber Walter's and I was telling Barbara what I was working on and she said: don't quit your day, job and Remember thinking, ok, yeah, so probably this book I think you're, the only person who was not bullish on a meditation book written by a you, know, sea level, news actor. I sell the book either like what I concur with the publishers and socially would barbers feed I was in line with generally the world was telling me. I didn't necessarily believe the book was gonna. Be Ethel, but I knew I was gonna, write it and nothing was gonna. Dissuade me I've really interested in it, and I thought I come and need to figure this out for myself, and you know I am my wife told me this recently in that I am actually said to her once you know a few people are helped by it and it's worth doing that. The sound like something I would say what I was happy that that was my attitude. So, yes, I do think even
but he like me, who is prone to anxiety, yeah, the hope is accessible, absolute and you did something beautiful. I mean even with someone telling you don't put your day job, you quit your day job. This thing you I didn't quit my day job I I died. I did everything at once myself, crazy up just for the record. I didn't get my day. I still have a great idea. That's the ashes, as part of trying to do we think it was a guy's, been corrected under the nice things that you pivoted right and is one of the things that people do when their hopeful is eel. Getting a goal doesn't mean that the goal that you said at the beginning is the goal that you land on in the end rates. Are there Idea, I thought of general theme to the goal. So the goal might be I'm to write a book and the inner. The hope may be that the book is profoundly successful, but at the core That I'm going to write a book and I'm going to write a book about this particular topic. Maybe
I want to do something that allows me to move out of this kind of stuff, lane and do something home people maybe the actual goal that is unnamed and got manifested as a book. But when the book doesn't it feed in a particular way you pivot and you create a podcast or you pivot, you do another version of the gall and is one of the things that is true of hopeful people is when the articulated plan doesn't work out you piglets an you. Try to make sure that you get to the heart of what it is. You ultimately wants. Is that one the five stride looking at the five strategies in this notion of sort of being flexible, attacking pivoting absolutely. Is that it be that's not on the list here, but I do know, maybe if it fits under, we haven't gone through the list, but I'm not seeing it explicitly
It is the recognition of barriers. I you know that barriers are going to emerge along the way, and so you do ultimately pivot. So it's one of the many strategies that people used to maintain a sense of hope. So we ve gone through two of the strategies. The third here is manage your attention. Absolutely so the things that you have to do you? Don't you talked about having a colleagues who told you don't pay today job if you is around yourself with people who will tell you what you cannot do, and if you only pay attention to the details of the moments of failure, you have very little reason to stay hopeful rights and one of the things that research has demonstrated as that people who are hopeful. Actually, a tendency to pay attention to positive data, so they paid into the people in their lives. Who say you know what I know this is hard, but if I'm gonna put my the on any one. I'm gonna put it on you re, so they pay it.
Seemed to those people enter those narrative, in the literal sense, in terms of research, there's studies, for example, where Researchers have shown people an area of skin with a lesion on it and one of the things that they have realised that passes will look a lot at the lesion. Other came the area of cancer on the skin. They focus their attention there for people. An optimist actually look at the area around that more than they do at the cancer cells and is part of this interesting pattern that we realise that hopeful people get the surroundings rights for their fewer cancer cells in areas skin and so focus their attention on all the positive stories. This cancerous area hasn't spread. The pessimists dislike oh my god and look at the cancer rates, are they focus their attention there. So, where you spend your time, looking what you spend your time, listening to what you spend your time talking about is very much related to your ability to maintain their sense of hope. If
managing your attention in such a way that you're, leaning toward the positive is. Could that be a kind of denial? It can be a candy denial can actually have some really positive benefits weight. So what The things that we know from research is that optimism works well when you don't have choices at home. Works really. Wellman choices are present and a salient in some way. So there is good reason. If, in a moment where overwhelming body of evidence to suggest to you that this is gonna, be really hard and it may start feeling impossible to get yourself you that moment. Denial might be what exactly what you need as a bridge to the point at which you can begin.
Look at data differently by itself. One was stressed out: we don't pay attention to date in the same way and in those moments a good dose of denial can be really really wonderful, really helpful. I've often chosen doses of much less healthy fangs. Grab denial instead about and so forth strategy on. This list, that? I see is seeking community we before about the fact that we are fundamentally social animals, Spain and there are moments when it is possible for you to maintain a sense of hope in another yourself. But is really really helpful to be around people where either the people around you are reflecting to you good reasons to maintain your sense of hope. Your sense of this future,
possible right because they help you narrate. I see as for you in the future- or I think, if we were together. These things are possible, so be in community gives you access to people who can help few, all both a sense of what goals are possible and in help you feel and gaps when you're trying to determine what the pathway is to those goals having people around you who can think creatively with you firstly when you're exhausted, especially when you're stressed or when you I don't know what you can do to achieve those goals. Having people around you to help fill those gaps is really important. An army search on activists demonstrates this. A lot when you sacrifice to do advocacy, work or social justice. Work are voting rights or whatever it might be. An you see what happens when people get two votes the fact that there are people who are in acting the thing that you are working actively to create reminds you of why it's important
right and you wouldn't have that if you were doing this alone, can you wouldn't have the data if you were alone, but you also have people who say to you. Thank you. Thank you for what you do because I don't know that I would do it or I just appreciate that you doing it so that fuel that gratitude plus, seeing the benefits of what you are doing and the outcome of your hopefulness is what fuels us all. We spent a lot of time on the show talking about community in the fact that were social animals, and I sometimes worry that term. People listen to happiness podcast here community all the time, because the reach shows up in the research is probably the number one contributor to human flourishing. And I wonder if people serve glaze over it because they think already have the or I don't know how to Get that drove the it's just become. Some wrote thing that I hear people say that land for you yeah
it does. It does. I think, when we dont complicate the words that we use they can become. Magic. So it is important to think about when we talk about having community, it seems fantastic, but the work of it and how one cultivates that none of that is clear from the use of that word, but the work that we do every day to pick up the phone or to make the decision to test and wondered at the ways that we connect to other people that allows, to be able to appreciate the awesomeness of humans right and the awfulness of this life that we get to live even one its challenges. It feels so mundane that the idea of community the idea of family can become Monday, but I think it's these moments, like a pandemic that remind us that you can't take for granted the right because a year and a half ago the idea that we have friends may not have struck us as
powerfully as it does now, when you can't see them right or when they're gone, or that family member who you couldn't go to the funeral because they died and eating we're in the middle of a pandemic, and you just you can't get bear in these moments. We get to start thinking about these connections. That feel mundane that we often take for granted, our sole, meaningful itself visa. Moments. When we can begin to think about like when we say community, it means the touch, and it means that the power of being hugged in ways that I haven't been hugged for a year right or to be able to sit and hear laughter without the intervening existence of a screen like all of those things are what it means to be. Human and three dimensional sense- and that's really important to us fifth and final strategy- is look at the evidence, absolutely so Some researchers have argued that hope
sort of rooted in a particular kind of fantasy and that people who are ultra hopeful r, p. Before sort of deluded innocence and this emerging body of research. That demonstrates that that's actually not the case at hopeful people actually do need evidence. They be data. So you don't expect that you're going to be hum a certain thing or that a certain alchemists possible unless you look back in your life or across the lives of other people, and you say I can see evidence of the possibility of it, because I can look at this person's life or I can look back at this moment, so hopeful people actually pieced together a difference. Data than pessimists. Do an pessimists don't deny data either that past choose pieces of data. That confirm their pessimism hopeful people choose pieces of data that suggests, if I want to get here, I to believe that it is feasible. It may not be easy but it is feasible to get there, and if I look at this person
who also had a particular roadblocks at I face, they were able get there and if I look at what they did, I can find some nuggets of. If I do these three things person did and then these five things at these other people did that it will get me close to the end goal of where I wanna be. So it's the capacity to do the empirical work that determines whether or not you are going to be hopeful or whether not you are helpful if we find these strategies can somebody who has the pattern toward fear anxiety, can somebody like that somebody, like me, become more hopeful employing these strategy? Have you seen evidence that change is possible? Yet absolutely it's? Why therapy worse by it's one of the ways the therapy can work, is when you're working with someone in a therapeutic context. The laying out of tell me the story of where you are and tell me the story of how you believe you ve come to be in this place and as
listen to that story night. I was the train of the narrative, constructivist therapists. I talk about the story that we tell about ourselves and now about our lives all the time, but in women tell the story, and we look back one of them Things said the therapeutic work can involve, is to take the pieces, those stories and to think about a number Things number one: how does the story serve? You are not serve you made. So how does this hurry up. It's all didn't work out badly. How has that serve to, and sometimes it is those stories- pessimism in Bloom action. Serve people because they draw people to them rights, it has benefited, doesn't feel good, but it may have the benefit of peace coming in to rescue you ate, and if that's the case, then one to ask. Is that a story you want to continue to tell because those benefits feel good Orkut,
to achieve the same benefits or equally meaningful benefits by telling a different story that actually matches the pattern of your life a little bit more effectively. So it's there work of standing the story and how the story that you have told about your life is working for. You are not working for you. It's going back through the specific details and sort of looking at what pieces of the story. Aren't you telling not, because you deliberately optics skating those pieces, but because we would nice, stories in ways that allow us to ignore all sorts of data that are actually part of our lives so pieces of the stormy. Do we need to bring in that? You haven't been paying attention to so far that actually create a counter story right and you look at that kind of story and look at the evidence you think of yourself as a failure, but look at less. Let's also think about all the places where you succeeded and let s look at the number of successes relative to the number of failures and
why the story of I'm a failure, resonate soul well for you and how it served you and let's look at why not serving you now, because we're sitting together so you wouldn't have come to seek a different way of being if this was truly comfortable. So it's that work that suggestion that. There can be changed and that there is change and we do have the capacity to shift the way that we think we have the capacity to shift the way that we function and, ultimately that's the most hopeful thing about what it means to live a life right. We everyday we get to make a decision. A colleague of mine is to tackle the fact that we are all in the process of being made and we get to be part of the making of arson. And that happens every decision, every sex every minute. Every day we have lots of choices and loss of power, and that's where hope lies. I think this idea, Changing the story you're telling to yourself about yourself is compelling in, and it sounds like something you could do in therapy, but you could out. You know if he's married well, if you have good friends, if you ever come
ready at church or a buddhist songs or whatever it is there good colleagues you can start to or you could even maybe even do it for yourself. If you have the wherewithal to start. Examining your assumptions and challenging them. Yes, absolutely and as you do, that tell me a different story about yourself also means telling a different story about the people in your life and telling a different story about the people are around us, because the hope in billowy, even if we take this outside of the self I'm increasingly, busted, an intergroup relationships relationships across lines of raisins, sexuality, etc. And it's the stories we tell about who the other is. And our ability to connect up with them that story is equally meaningful in terms of the hope of us being able to live together. Well, wait and we have the capacity to look different
at the data we ve collected about other people. Other groups of people other individuals and to think about, what pieces of the story are we not telling their? That would provide us with a counter story that would actually allow us to live more beautifully more, hopefully with each other and who is telling the story that is so familiar and sold. We did in the idea that we cannot get along that. We cannot do this thing and what's the investment in relative to the law the pieces of data where people actually can figure out how to live lovingly across of human difference me. We can do all of this hopeful work for ourselves individually, but we absolutely also have to do it. Slowly and an intergroup contacts. I was actually just today looking at a quote from Martin Luther King Jr about term he was
basically saying that, if you look in your own mind, you're gonna see that term. You ve got as much capacity for greatness as you do for Roguish Agnes and then, if you look at the world, you'll see that even the people or the nations that hate you the most. Despite their vile behaviour, there is goodness in there somewhere, where all complicated and seeing that complexity can actually be a sword. For I am salute me, it's the ability to see the humanity and others and recognise that. That's why it, as you said there is goodness everywhere everywhere, but which interesting to me about that is It starts by having an honest look at yourself. Yes, I seeing here think he quotes. Garters buddy is saying you know I have as much capacity to be great, as I do to be rogues our scoundrel or whatever it's actually have this humble look at your own, not making yourself some perfected being
you're, seeing your or what there's another line from poetry that the Mai meditation teacher likes to talk about it, some love your crooked neighbour with all your crooked. If you see your own fallibility, you can see them. Mobility and others, and actually in some way focused not just on this. Fallibility, but on the remainder which may be Lee posit absolutely and to go back to religion, although this is certainly not located exclusively in the world religions in I think a lot about stories about taking the piece of wood out of your eye before, try to do the same for another or in order to be able to see the other. If we are to see our own vulnerability and embrace it if we are able to sort of the live with our own fear and the ways in which our fear of being vulnerable or fear of some sort of bogeyman out there keeps us from being able to appreciate the fact that the other person is scared to or the other person is
having to and the other person last two and makes friends do if we are able to do that work than we can't build bridges. The thing that I love about being at workers Newark, as I did Strader is, I guess, see these eighteen to twenty two to forty year who have figured out have conversations with each other in ways that thirty forty fifty sixty. Ago. I can imagine happening just can't, imagine it and that's beautiful, but they did it. Partly because somehow they figured out how to have these sort of reflective moments of I've been through some things and I'm going to ask you what you ve been through as well, and if we look at the fact that we have the challenges and challenges in ways that we would have been able to anticipate. Look at you and I see you are somehow privileged and I leave the story. There can't get to know you, but if I, if I
Ask you about what was it like? Being the brother what was it like? Being these two peoples, or this one person sun and how war stories. Link up. If we can find those places where we can walk across bridges into each other, then it creates wonderful opportunities for us to set a goal of being able to live with each other's human Kennedy and celebrate that humanity. That's a nice hopeful place to leave it. I will take the would out of my eye and try to see this again around like cancer? I walk across the bridge and walk across the bridge at all that. Thank you so much for doing this. Thank you This was one if I really appreciate that they have the opportunity to talk with you. I really did. If people want to learn more about your work, where can we go? that I had a coherent website that had my work. I think just searching for my name is:
show me the easiest thing to do or just reaching out to be at Rutgers University in Newark. This has been such a pleasure. Thank you so much. Thank you Dan. It's been a wonderful experience. Thank you. Thank you to doctor Mattis. I was great really enjoyed, Talking to her, they show is made by Samuel Johns, DJ, Cashmere Kim by Comma Maria we're tell engine point with engineering by ultraviolet audio and is always a big shut out. Terrain Kessler, unjust Cohen, from ABC News will see you all on Friday for bonus, guided meditation on the subject. Of hope from oranges over who is our guest on Monday right. There We can see them burning the negroes part of town just turn. It was one of the most violent attacks in american history and one that Americans were afraid to discuss. Some people were threatened with their very lives and they talked about it from
ABC Audio comes a new podcast about the massacre of hundreds of black Americans and why it was kept secret for a century. Listen to tat It is very true, wherever you get your podcast.
Transcript generated on 2021-04-22.