Hope can be defined as:

intransitive verb
1:  to cherish a desire with anticipation:  to want something to happen or be true. hopefor a promotion. hoping for the best. I hope so.

transitive verb
1:  to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment. I hope she remembers. hopes to be invited
2:  to expect with confidence: trust. Your mother is doing well, I hope.

I have a soft spot for the sentiment of hope.  I feel it as a mixture of sadness and optimism.  Sadness for where you are and optimism for where you would like to be.

I’ve faced a lot of adversity throughout my life, but there is always one thing I would never give up on, and that is hope.  During the difficult times I would tell myself, “You are going through this for a reason.”  And the belief that life would get better always got me through it.  Hope is essentially positive thinking.

Now, I’ve been pondering over this idea of hope for a while.  I actually wrote those opening paragraphs months ago but didn’t have all my thoughts together to finish up this post. And in true fashion where things happen when you need them to, I recently came across the research of C. R. Snyder. Snyder was a psychologist who studied positive psychology.

Snyder believed that hope is not an emotion but a cognitive process.  He believed that hope is a combination of setting goals, believing in ourselves to achieve those goals, and finding a way to produce the result.  He also believed that hope can be learned.  (How cool is that?!)

In terms of children:

Children who have been given the opportunity to struggle, (versus being rescued by a parent during a difficult time), learn how to believe in themselves, assert themselves, and deal with conflict.

But this totally applies in adulthood too.

In leadership, we are taught that sometimes we have to let others fail, so they can learn for themselves.  It’s essentially the same thing as the parent letting their child struggle.  You come out of adversity stronger and more resilient.

Growing up with depression, sometimes, it felt like the only thing keeping me together was hope that it would get better.  I think that this is why I feel so strongly about hope.  It literally saved my life.

I would consider myself a very hopeful person, because it’s still something I hold onto almost everyday.  Though my reasons for feeling hopeful have changed, the need to be hopeful has not.  I don’t know if it was the many years of hopeful practice during depression that has made hopefulness such a norm in my life or not.  But if hope can be learned, then it seems to have definitely proved true in my life.

But back to Snyder…

He believed that how hopeful you are could be measured by The Future Scale.  The Future Scale is a series of questions that combines the score of your Pathway answers and Agency answers for a total Hope Scale score. The Pathway questions measure our perceived ability to produce routes to achieve our goals, and the Agency questions measure our motivation to follow these routes.

So, I was curious as to how hopeful I really am.  Like is this just something I think of myself highly or am I really practicing what I preach here?

When you take the quiz, you’re supposed to read each question carefully.  Of course, I was quite eager to see my results and kind of rushed through the questions.  With a total possible score of 64, I scored 53.

I honestly didn’t expect such a high score and am now kind of wishing I didn’t rush through the questions to see if I would have gotten higher!  But what didn’t surprise me is that my Agency answers scored higher than my Pathway answers.  This actually makes perfect sense.  I have a lot of motivation to achieve my goals, but I don’t always necessarily know how to achieve those goals.  While I already kind of knew this, seeing it in black and white really clarified where I need to put more of my focus, so this has been great feedback.

If you’re curious to see how you’ll score, take the quiz here.

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