January 15, 2009

Optimism is good for you

Italians are optimistic, relatively, that is relative to the general pessimism surrounding us these days. This is what a survey by the London daily the Guardian discovered. Behind Italy (in order) lie: the US, Russia, Germany, France, Spain, the UK and Japan.

Why are the Italians more optimistic? The Italian journalist Enrico Franceschini suggests the following:
1. Italians know something about the real prospects of the Italian economy that no one else knows.
2. The Italian character tends to stress more hope and trust in the stars.
3. The Italians are being fed unrealistically positive information that hides the real situation and assures, instead, that "tutto va bene" and we should let HIM take care of it. (that is, Berlusconi).

Even if the last hypothesis is true, still, optimism is a good thing and, in an economy based on trust, can even make good things happen.

Positive psychology has developed a classification system of 24 strengths called the "values in action strengths survey". The questionnaire measures human strengths in a consistent, reliable and valid manner, divided into six primary categories of strengths (or core virtues). Coaches informed by positive psychology approaches can use the results of this survey to help clients focus on their "signature" strengths to improve performance and well-being.

Along the way, they also identified the five key strengths that most strongly correlate to happiness: gratitude, curiosity, vitality, hope/optimism and capacity to love and be loved.

So, even if the economy is not going to actually bounce back as well or as quickly as the Italians genuinely hope it will, being optimistic at least makes you a bit happier as you go about your daily life.

a domani,

you can take the "VIA strengths questionnaire" by registering on the site: www.authentichappiness.com and clicking on the above questionnaire. It takes about 20 mintues to complete and is free (donated by the Mayerson Foundation to the public domain). Are you curious to know if curiosity is one of your "signature" (top five) strengths? It's number two on my list (after creativity) -- but I guess you would know that by following my blog.

Would you like to know more about how to put your strengths to work for better performance and personal satisfaction? contact me to schedule a free trial coaching session. leave a note on the site, email (abbot.elizabeth@gmail.com) or call: 328 087 8207.

1 comment:

Peter de la Tour said...

It's a wonderful thing - optimism. For most they have to work at it, for some it comes natural, for the rest let's help them out! Common sense should rule the way - what goes down must come up and the world keeps spinning round and round!