06/04/2014 03:26 pm ET Updated Aug 04, 2014

The Recipe for Undying Hope: Your Weekly Wake-Up Call to Make a Difference in the World

Hope is the last thing we lose. -- Uruguayan proverb

In the 14th century epic poem Inferno, Dante Alighieri describes an allegorical trip through hell. The sign inscribed on the door as he enters hell is very telling: Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate. ("Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.") When no hope remains, you pass through this door into a hell on earth no person merits.

To inspire you for a lifetime, your vision must never fail to provide hope. To do this, it must be unattainable. Your life vision comprises your greater purpose, guiding life principles, and core values -- not your attainable short-term goals.

"This doesn't make sense," you may be thinking. "Why would I want to write down a vision I can't achieve?" Have you considered how you would feel if you did attain your vision? There would be nothing left to hope for, nowhere to direct your aim.

You would feel disoriented, deflated, and dejected. You would become living testimony to the construction of the word "despair" -- from the Latin roots de ("without") and sperare ("hope").

This week, make a pact with yourself to write down at least one or two sentences that help define your unattainable life vision, such as, "To encourage my family and friends and to help them realize the unique beauty inside each of them." Alternatively, if you are a health practitioner, you might write, "To provide my patients with the most cutting-edge, high-quality health care possible."

Whatever you most value, put in on paper so it can act as your future guide.