The role of hope in a Designer’s life | by Luis Berumen Castro | Nov, 2023


Hope, optimism and design thinking.

Be hopeful! Hang on, Little Tomato!
Be hopeful! Hang on, Little Tomato!

This article is in response to many conversations I have held this year. 2023 has been hard on many individuals, especially junior designers, immigrants and the unemployed. Hang on!

TLDR: Keep on going; there is much ahead.

In popular Western culture, our shared imagination of Hell did not come from religious books but from the mind of Dante Alighieri. This Italian writer explored the multiple layers of eternal and mundane suffering in his Divine Comedy. Before inviting the reader to join his journey to the underworld, Dante places an essential requirement at the gates of hell.

All hope abandon, ye who enter here.

Dante clearly understood that losing hope is the first step to increasing suffering. Learned helplessness, a term coined by psychologist Martin Seligman, describes a condition in which a person suffers from a sense of powerlessness arising from a traumatic event or persistent failure to succeed. E.g. Why bother? Things are never going to get better.

Dante also implies that it is still possible to bring hope with you to the gates of hell, even after the most tragic events, which is an excellent example of learned hopefulness. This term can be seen as a state where individuals develop a sense of hope instead of succumbing to despair after facing repeated setbacks and challenges. This concept suggests a psychological resilience that emerges from enduring difficult circumstances. It can be learned and cultivated.

The brightness of Hope is better seen in the darkest of the situations. If learned helplessness sets in, it is also possible to unlearn it.

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

Hope served as a vital motivator for early humans, encouraging them to pursue essential goals for survival, such as acquiring food, shelter, and mates. Imagine how necessary this goal-driven behaviour was in…


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