The Power of Hope

Keep swimming no matter how big the waves get

In the late 1950's professor Curt Richter conducted a rather gruesome experiment using both domesticated and wild rats. The first part of the experiment was taking 12 domesticated rats and put them into individual jars half filled with water. And horrifyingly watched them drown. He wanted to to determine how long they would tread water before giving up and drowning. He noticed that 3 of the rats swam around for a short while before going under water using their nose to find a way out. But it only took 2 minutes before these rat drowned. Interestingly he noticed that the other 9 rats swam around for days before finally giving up and drowned.

The professor then took the wild rats. They had just been trapped and were extremely aggressive. Wild rats are renowned for their swimming ability so the professor believed that they would be able to tread water for a much longer period than the domesticated rats. But to his surprise they all gave up almost immediately and succumbed with minutes. The professor wondered why these fierce and aggressive rodents gave up so quickly.

He then decided to try one more variation of the experiment by taking some more wild rats and dropping them in the water but instead of watching them drown he picked them out just before they succumbed. He would hold them for a while before putting them back in the water, to his surprise they kept on swimming.

By giving these rats a small reprieve they realized that they were not completely doomed and that there was a possibility of receiving another brief reprieve. Knowing that there was hope they kept swimming.

In conclusion Richter wrote "“After elimination of hopelessness, the rats do not die.”

Although humans and rats are in no way similar one thing most certainly stood out - we all need a reason to keep on swimming.

Don't ever give up. Keep swimming.

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