#325 The Psychology of Hope

Goals + Willpower + Waypower

Rick Snyder was the founder of research into the science of hope. And, he was one of the pioneers of the positive psychology movement. In fact, he literally wrote the textbook on “Positive Psychology.”

He documented just how important hope is to our overall well-being and tells us that there are three primary components to having high hope: Goals + Willpower + Waypower.

It all starts with a Goal. Happy people have projects. And, happy, hopeful people have GOALS! They have a future they’re excited about.

Then we have what Rick calls “Willpower.” In this context, Rick tells us that Willpower is that spark of determination that says, “We’ve got this!!” It needs to be there in the beginning AND it needs be there after you get knocked down a few times. (Rick’s protege Shane Lopez described this as “Agency” — a sense of personal power that we have what it takes to make our dreams a reality.)

Then we have what Rick calls “Waypower.” Waypower is all about mapping out the plans for how you will attain your goal along with the wisdom to know that your first plan probably won’t work out perfectly — requiring you to continue optimizing your strategy while pursuing different routes to your goal. (Shane Lopez called this “Pathways.”)

So, again: Goals + Willpower + Waypower.

To be high hope, we need to have all three of those Optimized. It’s obviously not enough to have Goals without Willpower or Waypower. But it’s also not enough to have Goals and Willpower but not have the Waypower. You could be really fired up and really believe you can crush it but… If you’re not also doing the planning to find all the routes to your goal, your hope will take a hit.

Today’s +1. Let’s do a quick check in on the status of your hope.

Do you have specific, meaningful, and challenging yet doable Goals?

Do you have a spark of determination or “Willpower” that gives you the confidence that you can achieve your Goals and helps you move through the inevitable obstacles you’ll face along the way?

And, do you have a plan on how you can achieve your Goals (and a willingness to constantly tweak that plan as you get feedback from the world) via a strong sense of “Waypower”?

Once more: Goals + Willpower + Waypower.

Where are you strong? What needs work?

Here’s to cultivating your resilient, grounded, yet high hope day in and day out — especially (!) when you don’t feel like it.

P.S. Remember: If your basic fundamentals aren’t Optimized there’s no way you’ll be able to get yourself into that high-hope state consistently. Eating, moving, and sleeping well? That’s THE best way to boost your hope. Period.