Inspiration vs Hope

The words hope and inspiration get used a lot in in everyday life without much thought.  In fact they are probably a little overused, but that's just my own judgmental opinion.  So many people have stories that inspire or bring people hope in nearly every walk of life. I feel they are especially abused in the athletic and even the vasculitis communities.  Most people will never give the two words much thought, but I want that to change.  The definitions of hope and inspiration are often used in the same context and nearly interchangeable, I want to explain the difference and make you think before deciding which words to use in your next conversation.  The definitions are as follows: 
      Hope: a feeling of expectation or desire for a certain thing to happen, want something to happen or be the case

      Inspiration: fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.

Hope is someone feeling a sense of expectation whereas inspiration is to fill someone with the urge to do or feel something.  The difference is in the expectation.  Many people know that life has a way of ruining your expectations or desires.  Those desires are what can be dangerous.  We all have things we desire, including me, but we all won't be able to reach those desires.  That certainly doesn't mean that we shouldn't reach for those desires, it's that we should learn to be happy if we don't meet those desires or expectations.  You never know what obstacles life will bring. 

Some of you may already know I have a bit of a personal vendetta against the word hope.  In fact for those that don't know I have the phrase "All Hope is Gone" tattooed across my chest adorned with roses on either side.  
I have found the beauty in that statement.  

Many people upon seeing it often think that it is very sad, and depressing. In fact I find it to be quite the contrary.  When you have been through all the ups and downs that I have I have found a lot of comfort in the process and try not to be so attached to the outcome (notice I say try).  When people use the word hope it makes me cringe.  To me hope is something that is wishful or fictitious that you have little control over the outcome, but will be deeply sad if it doesn't come true.  You hear tons of statements like: "I hope to make the Olympic Team" "I hope to be in remission," "I hope to find love one day," "We have hope to get that job," "I hope to move to...etc."  These phrases and thoughts can become a prison in a sense.  People that suffer from a rare disease, or any other of the hundreds of issues that life can hand you, can have all the hope in the world for an outcome.  I think that hope can be misplaced and often causes people to fall harder when that wish or yearning isn't fulfilled.  It wasn't until I realized that all the hoping and yearning in the world wasn't going to change my outcome, so why not find a more useful place for that energy.

I prefer to give people inspiration instead giving them hope.  That difference may seem trivial to most people, but as someone that has suffered from depression and anxiety issues around my health and my athletic performance, changing my mind set from hope has given me the strength to carry on with my dream.  I have realized that the things I desire or yearn for may never come true, and that's alright.  I want to give people the inspiration I have for them to chase their dreams without the crutch of hope.  Chase your dreams like hell and don''t be afraid to take some risk.  Let go of hope before you take that first step, know that failure will be apart of that process. Learn to get cozy with failure.  Acknowledge it, learn from it, get back up and keep walking.  My all time favorite Rocky Balboa quote is, "Life isn't about who can hit the hardest.  It's about who can get hit and keep moving forward."  Many Vasculitis patients can relate to this statement.  In fact I heard it at such a perfect time for me, while I was in the hospital for a week with kidney failure, 85% hearing loss and a load of other issues I was experiencing right after my original diagnosis with Granulomatosis with Polyangitis in 2008.  That quote resonated deeply with me and has stuck with me ever since.  It hasn't always been easy to live, but now I know that I can handle whatever shit life throws at me and keep moving forward.  I want to give people the strength and tools (the inspiration) for when they are down and out with life dealing with whatever shit storm life has handed them.  The hardest part is standing back up, but if you keep getting back up (even if you barely seem alive) you will find a lot of strength in knowing that you can take on the next hit whenever and wherever it comes from!

Hope does nothing, inspiration gives you the tools to succeed.

Till next time,



  1. Brandon, thanks for the inspiration. I was diagnosed with Wegener's about 4 weeks ago. One of my doctors suggested joining the Vasculitis Foundation. I was feeling sorry for myself last weekend and went on the website. I read your story and shared it with my friends and family. You truly inspired me. You are a remarkable person and I have no doubt that you will succeed in anything that you set your mind to. I just finished my 2nd Rituxamab treatment and am very inspired to beat this disease.

    Thank you. You helped me more than you know with your courageous story.

    Be well.

    Ann Harvey

  2. welcome to the Family Ann! You keep fighting like hell. I still remember those first few scary months of not knowing what to think. Find strength in the fact that doctors are learning so much more each year about our disease and treatments now are way smarter than they were 8 years ago when I was diagnosed. Just keep doing what it takes each day to get through that day. That's all any of us can do. Some days are going to be tough and some days you wish would last a life time. And never be afraid to reach out if you need some advice or have some questions. We are all in this scary life together. That's what the Victory Over Vasculitis campaign means to me. Gives us all a place to share and lean.


Post a Comment