How Hopeful Are You?

Ever wonder how hopeful you are from a scientific perspective? If so, you can find out here with a quick Hope Scale survey. Scientist Shane J. Lopez, Ph.D., has dedicated part of his professional career to the fascinating study of hope; how to measure hope and determine how we can build hope into the lives of the students and adults we interact with.

Whether you love your hope score, or find it a bit disappointing, the great news is that hope can always be increased and interestingly enough, has been found to be contagious. Yes, that means if you are having a tough day, you should go spend time with your most hopeful friend. You are sure to begin feeling more hopeful simply by choosing to be around a hopeful person. Crazy, right?

The Past Determines the Future?

A key part of the work Shane and his team have done is exposing the educational myth that the past determines the future (think college entrance requirements).

Often students and even adults can get caught in the trap of feeling like their past will dictate their future, regardless of future actions or effort. When there is a belief that the future is set by past performance, it undermines the motivation necessary to make a change.

This is a profound and EXCITING scientific truth when we consider the statistical outcomes for students that age out of foster care. It means putting in the effort to create a different approach with some of our most vulnerable youth can and will create different outcomes. I want to be a part of that!

How Many Students Does this Currently Affect?

According to a study Shane mentions in his YouTube video, Hope is a Strategy, 50% of all students believe the future will be better than the present and that they have at least some small measure of control over their future. While this is great news for 50% of students, that leaves the other 50% in a bit of a tight spot when it comes to a sense of well-being and motivation to put in the work to create a fulfilling future. But don’t worry, there are great solutions and strategies for those who struggle with hope.

How is Hope Built?

Through the study of hope and through brain mapping techniques, Shane and his team discovered that our natural state of being or tendency, even when resting is to:

  • Think about and envision the future
  • Edit that vision according to what is exciting to us and what we feel we can accomplish
  • Design strategies to accomplish the vision

Taking time to dream and to talk about those dreams builds hope, momentum, and natural strategies toward success. We need to give students time to not only dream, but to talk about their vision for the future, and then help them enthusiastically chase those dreams.

How Does Life Coaching Support and Encourage Our Natural Tendency to Think About the Future?

Envisioning the future and creating strategies to accomplish that vision is a key part of the Academic Life Coaching program. Students who go through the program or coaches who train in it, have the added advantage of learning how to recognize and bust limiting beliefs as well as silence negative self-talk. When the natural process of editing a vision comes to pass, it is then easy to avoid prematurely editing out interests based on a lack of confidence rather than a lack of interest.

Chasing an exciting goal, spending time with hopeful people, and continuing to create stories for the future will lead youth down a path of tangible success, and help them avoid the pitfalls of wishful thinking.

Just a reminder, hope is contagious, and of course, it’s free to give. Who would you like to share hope with today?


Thanks for checking out my blog! If you want to learn more about hope and the work Shane has done, check out the video link posted above. I am an ICF certified Academic Life Coach and train youth advocates in the Academic Life Coaching 1.0 coach training program. I’m also an adoptive mom, youth advocate and a licensed therapeutic foster parent. For more information about this program for the student in your life or on how to train as a coach, please contact me here.