#947 Despair vs. Prosper

Etymological (and Psychological) Opposites

Not too long ago, we talked about the etymology of the word prosper.

As you may recall (and I hope you do!), prosper literally means “to go forward with hope.”

As such, prosperity isn’t so much the current status of your bank balance (or cash flow statements) as it is your attitude toward life.

That’s a really (!) exciting, powerful distinction. (At least for me and for the other Optimizing etymological nerds among us. 🤓)


Get this.

Do you know what the etymological opposite of prosper is?

It’s not poverty or anything related to material abundance or lack thereof.

The etymological opposite of prosper is DESPAIR.

While prosper literally means to go forward WITH hope (pro = “forward” + spere = a derivative of “hope”).

Despair literally means “WITHOUT hope” (de = “down from” + sperare = “to hope”).

When we feel despair, we have lost hope.

And, rather than “go forward” toward anything (other than our kryptonites, perhaps), we tend to curl ourselves up in a metaphorical (or real) ball under our metaphorical (or real) covers trying to avoid all the things that are stressing us out.

Which is why psychologists recommend that, when we (inevitably!) feel (at least some level of) despair, we model the healthiest among us and APPROACH our challenges rather than AVOID them.

That’s Today’s +1.

How can you move forward with hope just a little more powerfully Today?

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