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Picture of the cover of the book Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club by J. Ryan Stradal, used as a teaching example to increase hope

The Lakeside Supper Club is a family-run restaurant in a remote vacation town. Business is never booming, the dishes are not cutting-edge, and the décor is eclectic. And yet, the restaurant has a spirit that vastly outpaces the sum of its parts because of the strong women who define it. Betty starts working at the Lakeside while fleeing her scary ex-husband, and eventually marries the owner. Betty’s daughter, Florence, falls in love with the chef, realizes their life goals preclude a future together, and leaves the Supper Club so they can independently flourish. Florence’s daughter, Mariel, faces tragedy and finds solace in the bustling restaurant when she and her husband throw their hearts into its success.

Each of these women faces heartbreak, and for all of them, the Lakeside Supper Club is a part of their story of hope. Hope is a finicky feeling. Hopeful people tend to be happier and have better mental and physical health. They are generally more resilient and see obstacles as opportunities to learn and grow, making them more persistent.

Some people are born hopeful. For the rest of us, here are some tips on increasing hope:

  • Pick Positive People. Choose to spend your time with optimistic people. Then you can mirror their positivity rather than constantly reframing negativity from more negative individuals.

  • Concentrate on the Here and Now. Try to focus on the present instead of worrying about the future or perseverating about the past. This mindfulness will increase the likelihood of success in the moment, which will make you feel proud and build towards a happier tomorrow.

  • Set SMART goals. Set goals frequently, ensure they are reasonably achievable, and include short-term benchmarks to help build confidence. For example, if the overall goal is to write a 20-page paper in a month, set a benchmark goal of writing five pages per week and celebrate each week’s success.

  • Strive to See the Positive. Reframe your thoughts to see a silver lining, which will help you see the shades of gray or glimmers of hope in situations instead of thinking of things as simply bad.

The women in this book maintain hope, sometimes despite overwhelming odds, without sharing their secret recipe. I hope you read SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE LAKESIDE SUPPER CLUB, feel inspired, and follow the tips outlined above so you, like them, can be a light no matter how dark appear.


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