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Hope, Efficacy, Resilience, Optimism – Your HERO Within!

DISCIPLINE STRATEGY® Blog by Timothy L. Coomer, PhD

Lessons on applying scientific research to solve real-life challenges within a framework called DISCIPLINE: [Decide] [Investigate] [Sort] [Conceive] [Implement] [Loop] [Intensify] [Notice] [Enjoy]

We all have resources at our disposal.  

But, there is one resource that strongly correlates with success. It’s called Psychological Capital or “PsyCap.” It is the mental resource represented by hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism.

Historically, businesses entered industries where they could create barriers to entry. This is achieved by building large capital bases and other resources to ensure profitability, longevity, and minimal competition. The “workers” were expected to show up, put in a good day’s work, and go home. A lot has changed over the past twenty years. Barriers to entry are much more challenging to create, and the rate of change in all industries is staggering.

In his 2004 paper titled Positive Psychological Capital: Beyond Human and Social Capital, Dr. Luthans foreshadows the shift to a new sort of advantageous capital: PsyCap.

Successful businesses now invest in creating environments that nurture PsyCap among its employees.

As an individual, you can choose to nurture your PsyCap and reap the benefits of hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism whether or not your employer is supporting you.

Building your PsyCap is a long-term effort. But there are short-term ways to boost your PsyCap in the face of an immediate challenge.

Short-term PsyCap Development

In my book, DISCIPLINE STRATEGY® (release Jan 2020, pre-order on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2OcnYJf), I provide numerous worksheets as you step through the change process I teach in the book. In Chapter 6, Persevere, I use a step-by-step form to help you boost your PsyCap when faced with a challenge. For this blog, I’ve unlocked this document so you can download it directly (no registration required). Here it is: http://bit.ly/DS_PSYCAP

Long-term PsyCap Development

Ideally, you don’t wait until facing a challenge to think about your PsyCap. A better idea is to build your PsyCap ahead of time. Your plan to do this will have to be a personal plan you design that fits your life and goals. Here is an outline you can follow:

1) Get in the best shape of your life. Figure out what you need to do to be healthy, physically strong, active, and well. Physical strength is a prerequisite for PsyCap and will improve resilience and optimism.

2) Be a lifelong learner. Never stop working on your education, whether it is formal education or an individual pursuit. Read as many books as you possibly can. Sign up for free online courses. Challenge yourself to learn and grow continuously. The knowledge you gain in the process will boost all four components of PsyCap: hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism.

3)  Develop self-efficacy. Whatever your career interest, develop beyond where you are currently functioning. Learn the technical skills required for the next position. As a result, you will build your sense of self-efficacy and increase confidence.

4) Nurture a positive attitude. Put into practice gratitude habits. A useful reference is this article from Berkeley: http://bit.ly/DS_GRATITUDE

5) Nurture optimism. You do have control over your world view and how you process the events in your life. Learn the science behind this and nurture a more optimistic view of the world. The best book on this topic is Learned Optimism by Dr. Martin Seligman. You can purchase Dr. Seligman’s book here: Learned Optimism


The best investment you can make is in yourself. Take time to explore the topic of PsyCap and develop a plan to build your PsyCap. In my research, the strongest predictor of success is the degree to which you can marshal the forces of hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism. Start to work on this today.

P.S. You can pre-order DISCIPLINE STRATEGY on amazon: https://amzn.to/2OcnYJf