In this pair of projects we first complete a rather short test with big questions. For example, "Can you alter the transportation system of the world?" and "Can you make a good speech in front of other people?" There are eight such questions with a simple choice of Yes or No. Virtually everyone answers all of the questions "NO". Then we get Part B which challenges each of these with examples from history of ordinary people achieving extra-ordinary results. The point, according to Bob Conklin -
The reason most people fail is that the vast majority of thoughts about themselves and their abilities are negative. They completely overlook all of their positive abilities, talents, and potential.
Creativity, Vision, Perseverance, and Confidence are connected to our attitudes about ourselves. Sure, there are situations where we really need some help. Take, for example, the story of King George as told in the movie, The King's Speech. But even here we can point to an attitude of perseverance.
Barbara Fredrickson has studied positive emotions for over 20 years and has used scientific studies to prove what Bob Conklin had been teaching since 1957 - we do have the ability to cultivate positive emotions and use them to increase creativity and performance. A technique Dr. Fredrickson teaches is the development of a Positivity Portfolio which can be used to stop a downward spiral of negative emotions, the kind that create a NO answer on the Honesty Test. As I look at my own experience with this project, and now couple it with my experience in a MOOC taught by Dr. Fredrickson, I can better see what Bob Conklin was driving at. Following an assignment in the MOOC, I created a Positivity Portfolio on Pride since that was an emotion I have difficulty embracing. When I stopped to consider some of the things I actually accomplished in my life, such as Air Force Pilot Training, I feel more confident and better able to approachcurrent challenges with a positive attitude.
So, this project gets us thinking in new ways about our abilities and potential. And, the newer science of Positive Psychology adds even more tools and research to support it.