Hope – the foundation of human improvement, inspiring us to go forward, do better, achieve great things. Hope is a choice, a can-do attitude accompanied by the active intent to reach a desired destination. Hope expert C. R. Snyder explains that hope is not an abstract idea, but is actually goal-directed thinking. “It’s exhilarating to encounter high-hope people,” he says. “How they think about life is infectious. They leave trails of energy and positive feelings wherever they go.”*
Snyder has developed The Hope Scale**, which measures hope from a high-hope to low-hope range. Here’s an abbreviated version of the scale. As you think about these statements, rate your responses from 1 (definitely false) to 4 (definitely true.) The sum of these answers provides your Hope Score.
1. I can think of many ways to get out of a jam.
2. I energetically pursue my goals.
3. There are lots of ways around a problem.
4. I can think of many ways to get the things in life that are most important to me.
5. Even when others get discouraged, I know I can find a way to solve the problem.
6. My past experiences have prepared me well for my future.
7. I’ve been pretty successful in life.
8. I meet the goals that I set for myself.
So, how did you score? If you want to enhance your hope, here are some suggestions based on Snyder’s research.
• Learn self-talk about succeeding.
• Think of difficulties arising due to wrong strategy, not lack of talent.
• Recall past successes.
• Find movies, CD’s, books about how other people have succeeded.
• Find friends with whom you can talk about your goals.
• Look for role models you can emulate.
• Laugh at yourself.
• Reward yourself when you achieve the small steps on the way to your long-term goal.
• If you need new skills to reach your destination, educate yourself.
• If you are absolutely blocked in achieving your goal, set a new goal for yourself.
The difference between achieving your goal and getting stuck is a matter of mindset, a choice to continue to hope. Are you ready to boost your hope score in order to reach your destination and experience the success you desire?
Interested in learning more? Check out Making Hope Happen: A Workbook For Turning Possibilities Into Reality, by CR Snyder and Diane McDermott.
*Psychologies, February 2010, p. 20
**The Hope Scale: A Measurement of Willpower and Waypower, by Jerry Pattengale