On hope

The evolution and survival of a species depend on its ability to weather challenges and dangers. As humans, we have been given the unique gift of consciousness. With it come many abstract emotions and ideas. Some aid in survival, others don’t. The capacity for hope is unique to humans.

What exactly is hope?

Charles Richard “Rick” Snyder (1944-2006) — an academic who spent a lifetime on the study of hope — established the Hope Theory. His work on the subject is seminal. Snyder states that there are three main elements that constitute hopeful thinking:

  • Goals – Handling life in a goal-oriented fashion.
  • Pathways – Finding or delineating routes to reach your goals.
  • Agency – Summoning up the physical and emotional strengths to  initiate events and work towards these goals.

What cannot be measured, cannot be improved.

Being the scientist that he was, Snyder devised three scoring systems for objective measurement of a nebulous entity like hope.

1. The Adult Dispositional Hope Scale (ADHS). It is a self-reported questionnaire of 12 items. Total scores range from a minimum of 8 to a maximum of 64 with high scores reflecting high levels of hope
2. The Adult State Hope Scale (ASHS). One drawback to the ADHS is that it assesses hope solely as a baseline trait. It only measures an individual’s general level of hope. Hope levels may vary based on specific circumstances. (ASHS) assesses goal-directed thinking in any given moment or situation.
3. The Adult Domain Specific Hope Scale measures an individual’s level of hope in six specific areas: social, academic, family, romance/relationships, work/occupation and leisure activities.

The scales make it possible to compare assessments across different groups and times.

Hope is the best predictor of success, better than optimism

A growing corpus of scientific research has shown that hope enhances academic success.

  • A study conducted by a group of British academics found that hope is not just linked to academic achievement, but it is a better predictor of success than IQ tests, personality, or past academic performance.
  • Researchers at Santa Clara University discovered in 2014 that hope was the most constant predictor of GPA, edging out optimism.

When you lack hope, you are more prone to set “mastery objectives,” which are straightforward, doable activities that are not difficult and do not contribute to your growth. Pursuing mastery targets signifies a loss of control over one’s circumstances, making it simpler to give up.

Realistic optimism

There is a middle ground between starry-eyed optimism and relentless dark thinking. It’s called “realistic optimism“. Realistic optimists believe they will succeed, but emphasize that they have to make success happen through their own efforts.

Surfacing from the depths of hopelessness, into creativity

(By Francesco Jodice – ticket:2013022110009441, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24823403)

The Japanese word hikikomori translates to “pulling inward.” It was coined in 1998 by Japanese psychiatrist Tamaki Saitō to describe a burgeoning social phenomenon among young people who, feeling the extreme pressures to succeed in their school, work, and social lives, decided to withdraw from society for at least six months.

In recent years, there has been a subtle change in how people understand the phenomena, manifested through increased awareness of the complexity of the experience. It can be understood as a radical act of introversion and self-discovery.

Kazumi Leiri, a recovering recluse, suggests that there is no need to hurry to retie social bonds, rather to “tie small knots, little by little.” Creative expression could be a powerful way to both share experiences of isolation and to reconnect with others within and beyond the state.

{P}rescriptions for a sustainable future – Rx 2 – 2023

About this series (click to read)

➡️ Banning straws might be good for the planet – but bad for people with disability or swallowing problems. What is ‘eco-ableism’?
➡️We don’t need ‘miracle’ technologies to fix the climate. We have the tools now.”
➡️ “How green roofs can help cities” (YouTube video)
(Click on the title to go to the article. As you scroll down, an arrow will appear on the right, bottom corner. Click on it to return to the top.)

“Banning straws might be good for the planet – but bad for people with disability or swallowing problems. What is ‘eco-ableism’?”
Kate Anderson | The Conversation


Many states ban single-use plastics, including straws. While this is a win for the environment, it comes at a price for social inclusion, as many people with disability rely on plastic straws to safely enjoy drinks.
Sustainable alternatives are available, but these are often unsafe or unusable for consumers with complex medical needs. This is an example of eco-ableism, which occurs when environmental policy, design, or campaigns discriminate against people with disability.
An inclusive approach to sustainability is the best way to protect fundamental human rights and the environment, and research shows it is also good for business.

▶️📄 Read the article

🔑 #disability #straws #change #creativity #wellness #P4life #sustainability

“We don’t need ‘miracle’ technologies to fix the climate. We have the tools now.”
Mark Z Jacobson | The Guardian


✅ We don’t need “miracle” technology to address the climate. We already have access to the resources that will enable us to do so, such as wind, water, and solar (WWS) energy, storage for electricity, heat storage, cold storage, hydrogen storage, and energy-efficient electrical products.
✅ With a $62 trillion initial capital investment, a 2050 WWS system would pay for itself in less than six years thanks to the $11 trillion in annual energy cost reductions.
✅ In addition, around forty percent of the carbon dioxide that is caught today is utilised to facilitate the extraction of further oil from the earth. This results in the release of approximately seventy-three percent of all of the carbon dioxide that is currently being captured.
✅ The climate catastrophe may be mitigated if enough people buy into the idea of change and government leaders are committed to action.

▶️📄 Read the article

🔑 #ClimateChange #technology #skills #strategy #wellness #sustainability

“How green roofs can help cities”
NPR | via YouTube


Urbanisation leads to loss of green cover. Here’s an innovative approach to countering this loss.

🔑 #ClimateChange #urbanisation #roof #garden #greening #change #creativity #inspiration #strategy #sustainability 

In the infinity of the cosmos, our Earth might well be the only place where Life exists. Yet, we have devastated this miracle and are now poised at the edge of a frightening abyss of desolation. Every one of us needs to act, and act fast. The key word to continuing to enjoy the bounty of Life is “sustainability.” The Earth, as Mahatma Gandhi remarked, can satisfy all our needs but very little of our greed. This is an ongoing series of articles focusing on the issues of renewability and sustainability.

(Graphics and images – Vecteezy.com Pro Licence)

Good “dumb questions” can flush out valuable information

“𝕊𝕥𝕠𝕡 𝕥𝕣𝕪𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕥𝕠 𝕒𝕤𝕜 “𝕤𝕞𝕒𝕣𝕥 𝕢𝕦𝕖𝕤𝕥𝕚𝕠𝕟𝕤” || 🆃🅸🅻 A Smart Question is a query designed to advertise the wisdom of the asker. … how counterproductive feigning intelligence [is] during the process of trying to collect [information]. Big Dumb Questions (BDQs) … Really revelatory and surprising answers can come from extremely basic questions.

📄▶️ Read the article

🔑 question

Like ice cream, happiness comes in flavours

𝔽𝕝𝕒𝕧𝕠𝕦𝕣𝕤 𝕠𝕗 𝕙𝕒𝕡𝕡𝕚𝕟𝕖𝕤𝕤” || 🆃🅸🅻 ✅ There are two types of happiness: hedonic and eudaimonic. ✅ Hedonic happiness stems from activities which give fleeting pleasure; eudaimonic happiness is joy that has meaning and purpose. ✅ Moreover, we tend to derive greater satisfaction from experiences than from material possessions. ✅ We are under no compulsion to favour one over the other. Instead, we should aim to create a life that allows us to enjoy both.

📄▶️ Read the article

🖥️▶️ Read on Mastodon

🔑 happiness, meaning

How to get the biggest bang for the buck when you donate to good causes: Effective altruism

Image by truthseeker08 from Pixabay

Bang for the buck? We like to donate money to good causes. It gives us a “warm and fuzzy” feeling when we do something that helps those less fortunate than ourselves. But we rarely pause to consider whether our contribution is truly beneficial. We mean well, but there is no guarantee that the outcomes will match our expectations.

Here are some examples of unintended consequences.

  •  Too much of a good thing: When natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis are widely publicized, a large amount of money and resources can pour in. But, the state of affairs at the scene of the event may not be adequate enough to put these to good use. A lot of good intentions go to waste.
  • Selfish altruism: Many of us split our donations into small amounts and give them to many different organizations. We’re called “warm glow givers.” Small sums of money can often cost more in processing charges than the amount donated.

Enter, effective altruism

In the past few years, effective altruism has come to be seen as a new way to think about giving.

“. . .a philosophical and social movement that advocates using evidence and reason to figure out how to benefit others as much as possible, and taking action on that basis.” – Wikipedia

The profile of an effective altruist

Data, not emotion: Effective altruists use a data-driven approach to do good. They prefer to donate money or give their time to causes that have the largest impact. In a sense, it follows the ethical philosophy known as utilitarianism.

How can one go about becoming an effective altruist?

  • Choose a career in which you make the most income, not with the intention of living affluently but so that you can do more good.
  • Choose a modest lifestyle in which you can donate a portion of your income to the most effective charities without putting yourself through discomfort or wearing a hair shirt. Guilt should not be a driving force in the decision.
  • Spend time researching organisations. The key question is: “Is the organisation working on important issues and are they doing it with a frugal, cost-conscious approach?”
  • Disseminate the message through various channels, including conversation, public speaking, and social media.

How do you know where your donations will be most effective?

GiveWell, is a not-for-profit organisation that has been working since 2007 to answer this question. Their data and resources are available online to anyone at http://www.givewell.org.

Emotions get in the way of charitable giving

Utilitarianism is not practical for most of us; it offers no room for emotions. However, we are largely driven by emotion when we give to good causes. Here are some of the mechanisms that work at stopping us from giving.

  • One over many: People experience a more positive effect when helping a single identified individual than when helping many. We will consistently choose family and friends over strangers and citizens of our own country over those of other nations. People’s responses to the suffering of others do not scale in a linear fashion but diminish as the number of affected individuals increases, a phenomenon that has been referred to as ‘compassion fade’ or ‘psychophysical numbing’.
  • Does it really reach the needy? In many places, corruption and local politics suck away donations. The needy don’t get them. We are concerned that donations made to such places might actually be supporting and promoting corruption.
  • Evolution rules: In the past, when the rules of evolution held sway, three fundamental motives helped solve key challenges: parochialism, status, and conformity. All of them are barriers to sharing and giving. Society has evolved to the point where these factors no longer hold good in day-to-day lives. Yet, evolution is a hard thing to shake off and can continue to create psychological barriers to effective giving.

Our moral boundaries can be examined by sound reasoning. Effective altruism tries to look closely at the results of charitable acts to make sure that money is spent in the best way possible.


If you want to be a leader, you need this “X factor”​: Executive Presence

Image courtesy Pixabay

The “X” factor: Executive presence distinguishes leaders from the crowd of people with mere talent or merit.

First named and described by Sylvia Ann Hewlett, EP is:

“… an amalgam of qualities that true leaders exude, a presence that telegraphs you’re in charge or deserve to be. Articulating those qualities isn’t easy, however.”

Success does not naturally follow talent and hard work. There are studies in support. You need to have extra qualities that are not easily acquired, and can even be hard to pin down. The most well known is Daniel Goleman’s description of Emotional Quotient (EQ).

3 Qualities: EP is a mix of 3 elements.

No alt text provided for this image

1. Gravitas: confidence + poise under pressure + decisiveness. This is the defining characteristic of leaders and is easily the most important.

2. Communication skill: speaking skills + deep, close listening + ability to read an audience or a situation. A powerful vocabulary needs to be a part of the territory. There is a direct correlation between vocabulary size and rank on the corporate ladder. Leaders have a much more powerful arsenal of words than those lower in the hierarchy and know how to tailor them to the audience at hand.

3. Appearance: Although not as critical as the other two, it completes the overall effect. A scruffy, distracted appearance does not go down well.

In addition, there are 3 more elements that complete the picture.

No alt text provided for this image

1. A calm demeanor: Tantrums and prima donna-like behaviour turn people off. You may be a genius and endowed with rare abilities, but you are unlikely to be a leader if you can’t keep a firm grip on your emotions.

2. Self-awareness: Leaders are aware of their own limitations. They are not afraid to ask for help when they are out of their depth. They delegate effectively.

3. Getting things done: They strive for and achieve completion in all of their tasks. They don’t leave situations hanging and unresolved.

Next time you come across someone who is “charismatic”, use this EP list to see how many of the boxes they check. Ask yourself how you can build it into your persona. Executive presence is not an inborn gift. It can be learned and implemented.