Lessons in Living a Long Life from a Man Named “Hope”


He was on Broadway, did radio broadcasts, movies and TV.

He could sing, dance, tell jokes and act. Bob Hope was everywhere. His comedic genius entertained millions across six decades.

Bob Hope lived to be 100 years old. How did this giant of entertainment manage to live so long? Was it his sense of humor? His eternal optimism? Those were factors, no doubt. But in a rare 1981 interview, Hope revealed “I always keep busy. And I walk two miles every night, no matter where I am.”

Walk with me now as we review 4 quotes from Bob Hope so that we too can lead a long, fulfilling life.

I’ve always been in the right place and time. Of course, I steered myself there.

Bob Hope’s career was varied, but not accidental. He planned his moves and tried new things, even if others thought he was unqualified. Hope had what many lack today – belief in himself. Our best friend, biggest promoter and most trusted adviser is…ourselves. We must live our lives not to please others, but to please ourselves. Put fear and hesitation aside and go fourth no matter what happens.

When we recall the past, we usually find that it is the simplest things – not the great occasions – that in retrospect give off the greatest glow of happiness.

It’s true. Think of your own past. What are the things you remember the most? A laugh with a friend, time spent with a loved one or the beauty of a place where you once lived or visited. This week – take time to notice the simple things. Appreciate those close to you.

I have seen what a laugh can do. It can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful.

Humor was Hope’s occupation, but those who knew him well, said he joked around in his personal life as well. Bob Hope never took himself or life too seriously. It’s a viewpoint many of us need today. In fact, laughter may well be the one thing that gets us through this world of ours. Put on a smile, break the stress, and when you feel the need to laugh, don’t hold back.

I left England when I was four because I found out I could never be King.

It’s not well known, but Bob Hope was actually born in England. Later in life, when his movie career died in the 1950s, Hope looked around at the next thing he could do – television. He was constantly changing. I find myself being too comfortable these days, in need of a new challenge. Like Hope, I need to look around at what else can be done. Always keep moving.

While Bob Hope appeared natural and made entertaining look easy, he wasn’t one to take any chances, becoming among the first people in show business to use cue cards.

He would use them well into the latter part of his career, until his eyesight gave way.

Bob Hope, who spent years entertaining U.S. troops overseas, used self-deprecating jokes combined with a big welcoming smile to make people feel good about themselves.

And perhaps that’s the ultimate key to a long life – service to others.

Bob Hope died on July 27, 2003. The story is told by his grandson that when asked on his deathbed by his wife where he wanted to be buried, Hope replied “Surprise me.”

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