2024: A Year of Hope

Audrey Cheng
4 min readJan 15, 2024

I’m starting 2024 with a newfound practice in cultivating hope. Over the last year, global and domestic trends and events have dampened my belief that the world I hope to live in is possible. The further outside of my locust of control that my mind and spirit wandered to — the wars and politics mirroring physical, mental and emotional violence — the less important any of my solutions felt and the less hope I felt that anything was worth doing or pursuing. I found myself at a loss for why I kept exploring and throwing out the many ideas and solutions in areas I felt drawn to. As I reflect on the thoughts that my mind occupied and the way I was engaging with the world in 2023, I found myself retracting and pulling away, fear that bred a draining self-interest, and anxiety that I was pulling farther away from my truth. I wasn’t in the arena. I wasn’t serving others and the world in a way that I knew how. My mind and heart were becoming more guarded and smaller.

In my early 20s, my hope for the world was brazen with optimism. All I saw were possibilities and the exploration led me to solve a meaningful challenge in Kenya, creating a new model for eduction/skills training and connecting youth to opportunities they might not have otherwise had. I was emboldened to solve whatever challenge came the next day and I remained laser focused on getting to the next milestone. I wasn’t trying to solve a systems issue at the start, merely: is it possible to create an alternative education model that moves young people into employment? Thinking and acting small enabled me to build conviction on whether what I was working on was effective and kept me focused on a time horizon that felt motivating and in my control.

Meditation author and teacher and psychologist Tara Brach talks about cultivating hope through three steps:

  1. Connect with a deep aspiration: what is it you really long for? Make your wants larger, deeper and more encompassing. The very least in our lives is to figure out what to hope for.
  2. Trust and believe that something is possible. Live inside that hope. Live right under its roof.
  3. Engage energetically, focus on learning and growth through action (letting go of analysis paralysis) and reconnect with the flow. The only way to get there is from here — the present moment.
Sunrise kayak in Cape Town, 2024

A big part of 2024 will be on cultivating hope and a beginner’s mind when it comes to new projects. Asking questions, staying curious and learning through action. Focusing on what is in my control and what I can test — action to drive learnings rather than to generate outcomes. This means using grounded theory — developing theories based on lived experiences rather than proving or disproving existing theories — to generate insights and make decisions, rather than feeling disempowered by the dominant narrative of the world being pulled apart by the seams.

To stay in this flow, the mindset that I approach each day with and the mantras I repeat to myself will be critical. Instead of feeling down by failure, it’s feeling energized by the learnings. Instead of feeling shaken by how much I don’t have control over and overwhelmed by what I can’t change, it’s repeating the Serenity Prayer: God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

Even with this mindset, I look at 2023 as a year I spent experimenting with the way I live, what type of work I feel aligned to and how I’d aspire to live my life everyday. In 2023, I:

  • Tested what it was like to live on raw, undeveloped land and what it meant to build a new land project from scratch. Learned that I wanted to be closer to projects that were more accessible to more people.
  • Worked with friends to build an intentional community that shifts the way we relate and live. Learned how important clarity of purpose and decision making are for any new community and learned I wasn’t ready for a long term commitment to a rural lifestyle.
  • Connected with the Tea Research and Extension Center in Taiwan to learn about the science behind tea growing, visited many tea farms in Taiwan. I planted the initial metaphorical seeds to grow a tea farm and create tea products and experiences that reminds us to slow down and recenter our speed of going through life to the pace of growth in nature. Learned that I do want to be building in wellness one day and work on solutions that help shift people to live healthier lives.
  • Sat on three boards and investment committees and tested my role as an advisor and board member. Learned how much I missed operating a company and the unique challenges of business building in various countries.
  • Scaled the presence of AI communities and companies on Discord. Learned how to see the signal from the noise.
  • Made large decisions to shift my relationship with people, purpose and place — sometimes changing all 3 at once. Learned that changing one various at a time might yield better insights.

The more I experience life through a variety of perspectives, the more I’m internalizing how uncertainty and impermanence are some of the few known truths. Idealism is important and enabling if housed within hope. And hope is a practice that requires active cultivation.

So here’s to 2024, a year of cultivated hope.

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Audrey Cheng

Taiwanese American. Curious about ideas and solutions that support human flourishing.