#337: Hope Is a Skill | George Mumford

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Spring is here. Vaccines are entering arms. But for many of us, hope can feel slippery and fleeting. Even with the pandemic seeming to abate, there's still a lot of uncertainty and suffering. That’s why, starting today, we’re launching a special two-week series on hope: what it is, what it isn’t, and how and why to cultivate it.

The word “hope” might feel vague, or gauzy–or even, given the current state of the world, misguided. And if you’re using the commonly understood definition of hope, that might be true.

Many of us think about hope as wishing for some specific outcome or result: a raise, a promotion, a romantic entanglement, or a return to an exact replica of pre-pandemic living. We can get attached to these outcomes–and then get disappointed when they (inevitably) don’t work out exactly as we’d hoped.

But there is a way to hope wisely. And over the next two weeks, both here on the podcast and in the Ten Percent Happier app, we’re going to teach you how. We’ve enlisted an all-star slate of Buddhist teachers, mindfulness experts, and scientists, who will make the case that hope is a skill. One you can get better at.

Today on the podcast, we’ve got the perfect guest to kick off our series. George Mumford is a personal friend and a much-loved contributor to the Ten Percent Happier app. Years ago, he overcame a heroin habit to become one of the nation’s leading mindfulness teachers. He’s worked with some of the world’s top athletes, including Michael Jordan and the late Kobe Bryant.

In today’s episode, he’s going to talk about his own tumultuous path towards hope, how it relates to the Buddhist idea of right action, and also a list he calls the Four A’s.

A quick heads up: in our conversation, George talks frankly about his aforementioned substance abuse, which might be a sensitive topic for some listeners.

If you’re a subscriber to the Ten Percent Happier app, you're going to want to check out our exclusive new "Hope is a Skill" content. We’ve got fresh meditations and talks on the subject -- just tap on the “Singles” and “Talks” tabs in the app to check them out, or click here (https://10percenthappier.app.link/HopeIsASkill). If you’re not a subscriber, now’s the time. In addition to the “Hope is a Skill” meditations, there are tons of resources for starting, rebooting, or deepening your meditation practice. Just download the Ten Percent Happier app today, for free, wherever you get your apps to get started: https://10percenthappier.app.link/download-app.

Full Shownotes: https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast-episode/george-mumford-337

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