Gallup Senior Scientist, Shane Lopez shares volumes of research that show hope matters, hope is a choice, hope can be learned and hope is contagious. Hope relates to academic success, business outcomes, and well-being. How we think about the future is a key determinant of success in school, work. and life. Lopez includes Hope Scales for Youth and Adults in the back of the book to help you create your own study, should you be inspired.
Hope is more than optimism, more than wishing, and more than intelligence. The action element of hope is what sets it apart from other positive thought messages promoted to improve life and circumstances that are often found in many self-improvement books. The combination of history and hope adds up to predictions of success. Past performance alone does not adequately predict future performance. Future focus, can-do spirit, and positive relationships demonstrated by hopeful people are qualities leaders use to select best candidates for a posiiton.
Lopez includes triggers to be aware of that can interfere with hope, including examples of critiques and negative self-talk that can steal our self-determination. He also mentions canaries and gives an example of Van Halen and David Lee Roth's tour manager's contract with venues while at the height of their popularity and power. The entertainers would swing across the stage on a wire connected to waist harnesses and dangle upside down five feet above the stage. A clause in the fifty-three page contract specified under the heading of "munches" to have M&M's with a warning to absolutely include NO BROWN ONES. Rather than being an obvious prima donna excess, it was actually a sign to the manager that if the M&M's had a brown one, the entire stage would need to be rechecked for safety for the performers. An interesting reminder of looking at our critical collaborators, excuse makers, or slow responders to see how we are being supported or not.
Followers need hope. They want the people they serve to meet four psychological needs: compassion, stability, trust, and hope. In return, followers give their commitment, creativity, mutual trust, and engagement. By studying hopeful leaders and talking to their followers, Lopez found that people who want to spread hope and motivate followers need to practice these three tactics:
Create and sustain excitement about the future.
Kock down existing obstacles to goals and do not put up new ones.
Re-establish goals--regoal--when the circumstances demand it.
Lopez believes that it is the central challenge for our educational system today. We have to help students see that school is relevant to the future they want for themselves. We have to teach hope to our children, in and out of the home.
We need to link children's current thinking, effots, and learning to their future lives; teach children specific, multiple pathways to meaningful goals; and conduct community audits to preserve and recruit extra agency for children.
Kids do not care about our institutional goals. They are excited about personal goals that create a promising future for themselves. Lopez suggests mentoring for the future, new-style career days using people who LOVE their jobs (only 1 out of 5 actually do), project-based learning, bridging high school and college.
Go ahead and pick up the book and determine how you become a super-empowered, hopeful individual so that you can model and network with others to become contagious hopeful leaders. For some of you, that is not a super-powered leap but a definite aspect of yourself.