Have you ever read a really great book and wonder what took you so long to discover it? Y’all know I’m a huge bookworm and even though I prefer fiction, when I come across a non-fiction book that grabs my attention, I’ll be sure and read it.
About a decade ago, I was going through a season in life where self-help and motivational books were something I read a lot of. There was a sort of comfort derived in reading how I could improve the physical, emotional and spiritual areas of life. However, even after reading countless books on these topics I still felt like a piece of the puzzle was missing. (I’ll get to that a little later on.)
“Hope is the beginning of everything.” – Ray Johnston
Until I read this book, I had never heard about the concept of the ‘hope quotient’. You all have heard about IQ, right? That’s a person’s intelligence quotient, which is used to measure how smart a person is. Then, there is something called emotional intelligence quotient which is how people relate to other people. This book, “The Hope Quotient” takes things a step further. As the author Ray Johnston writes, “why are some people just personally, emotionally, and relationally in better shape? [Because] thriving people thrive for one reason – they commit to things that produce inner strength and hope.”
The book is divided into three main parts. Part 1 covers what Johnston writes about is “the single most important thing to do” in our lives. Essentially, we have to understand that anything is possible, when we have hope as a priority. He talks about what hope is and what it isn’t, how hope liberates us and unleashes compassion. How hope is “more than just an emotion we feel; it’s a state of being we create…and can be learned.” Wrapping up part 1, he writes about how discouragement destroys everything. When we are discouraged, the key is to not stay discouraged. How do we do that though?
That’s where Part 2 starts out, with listing the “seven factors that raise your hope quotient” and help us beat discouragement. Because I feel these seven factors are too important to not list out, I’ve put them below.
1. Recharge your batteries
2. Raise your expectations
3. Refocus on the future
4. Play to your strengths
5. Refuse to go it alone
6. Replace burnout with balance
7. Play great defense
Johnston goes into great detail about each of these seven factors for the rest of Part 2 but let me paraphrase the main point from each one.
1. Ask yourself this question: What drains me and what fuels me?
2. Don’t wait for your circumstances to change; change your perspective.
3. Ask yourself this question: “What can this become?” As Johnston writes, nobody ever goes forward well when they are looking back.
4. Discover your spiritual gifts and build your life around them.
5. Don’t do life alone. Have a solid base of support.
6. Make sure you are putting first things first.
7. We have to eliminate everything in our lives that has the power to kill our faith, hope, and spiritual lives.
Part 3 of the book is where Johnston actually give us practical applications. I don’t know about you, but having a clear and concise way of applying something I’ve learned is always extremely helpful. One practical application is taking the online assessment (which is provided with every book) to help you determine which of the seven factors you need to improve in order to raise your hope quotient. There are six chapters in this last part which cover how you can unleash hope in your marriage, kids, career, church, community, and the world. Johnston provides practical ways in which you can unleash hope in all these areas of your life. There really are so many parts I’ve highlighted but I’ll just give a main point from each chapter which stood out to me.
Unleashing Hope in your Marriage: “The reality is that marriage is composed of two very flawed, very imperfect individuals. It is crazy to think that two imperfect individuals can form one flawless, problem-free relationship. It’s just an unrealistic expectation. Building anything, especially a lasting marriage, is not easy. And choosing hope over despair never is. But it’s always worth it.”
Unleashing Hope in your Kids: “Provide direction and motivation, which brings hope. Cultivate close connections and be the number one encourager in your kids (or grandkids) lives. It will make all the difference for them – and you!”
Unleashing Hope in your Career: “People who arrive [to work] with energy, are always in demand. Bringing passion to your job changes the work landscape. Passion brings life; apathy deadens. When you arrive, you can take advantage of the opportunities disguised as hard work. Figure out what God made you to do better than most people and run as fast as you can in that direction.”
Unleashing Hope in your Church: “When the church is focused on Christ and fueled by hope, it is the most powerful force in the world. When a church and its people begin believing that God actually does have better days ahead, everything changes. Good deeds lead to good will, which lead to openness to the good news. Hope-based Christians realize that revival comes not when people becomes more religious but when religious people become more like Christ.”
Unleashing Hope in your Community: “If your heart beats in sync with the heart of Jesus, then you must come to see that He calls you and me and every Christian to bring hope to our communities, wherever they are.”
Unleashing Hope in the World: “Whoever wins the kids wins the culture. Whoever wins the kids wins the nation. Whoever wins the kids ultimately wins. Quit feeling guilty about not doing everything. But do something…because something is better than nothing.”
Remember that missing puzzle piece I mentioned earlier? You aren’t left wondering if there’s something missing because the book is written on a solid foundation. The author uses Bible verses and illustrations all throughout the book. Those facts set it apart from your typical self-help/motivation books that aren’t based on the solid foundation of the Gospel.
The very last chapter of this book is titled ‘A Conspiracy of Grace’. The message is clear, as Johnston writes in the final chapter:
“The solution to everything is not the right religion. It’s not the right ritual. It is the right person. That person, for your life, is Jesus Christ.”
I have so many more things I could write about this book, but I just urge you to pick up a copy for yourself. If you let it, it will change your life.
G I V E A W A Y
If you are interested in having your own copy of “The Hope Quotient”, just leave me a comment on this post. Giveaway is now closed. The winner has been contacted. Thanks!
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Disclosure: These books were kindly provided to me by Shelton Interactive for my honest review. No compensation was received and all opinions are my own.