“The capacity for hope is the most significant fact of life. It provides human beings with a sense of destination, and the energy to get started.” Norman Cousins
A very interesting theory I have discovered in the science of positive psychology is hope theory. C.R. Snyder spent many years researching the theory of hope and its benefits to well-being. Hope is not just wishful thinking or optimisim in the way we say “I hope I will win the lottery.” Hope is a belief that we can change the future for the better, or reach our desired goals. Hope keeps us moving forward when the going gets tough, and helps us to “get back on the horse” when we fall off. According to Snyder’s theory, hopeful thinking is made up of 3 key elements:
- Goals – thinking in a goal-oriented way.
- Pathways – finding different ways to achieve your goals.
- Agency – believing that you can instigate change.
Snyder found that hopeful thinking is one of the biggest determinants of success, even more than than intelligence, skill or previous success, so it’s an attribute that we could all benefit from having more of. Luckily hopeful thinking is a response we can learn and anyone can improve their hopeful thinking by using the right goal setting, planning and motivational techniques. A wonderful way to get clear about your goals is to visualise them and put them down on paper. This wonderful TED talk by Patti Dobrowolski is the inspiration behind Happiness Experiment No 30: Draw Your Future. Watch the talk and start to make your dreams come alive.
Draw Your Future – Patti Dobrowolski TED
Posted by Shona Lockhart on 27th February 2015