3rd Analysis of the International Inspiration Index (I3)

The purpose of the I3 (The International Inspiration Index) is to get a feel for how people are feeling, what’s bothering them, and their outlook for the future. It started in late April, 2009 so we now have four months to analyze.

If you would like to take the ongoing I3 survey, go to www.Motivation2009.com.

Better Late Than Never

I’ve been swamped. I know, I know, data waits for no man. However, it had to wait for me this month. I try and get my postings done by the 3rd week of the month, but was involved in a whole lot of other projects so it got pushed to the way side. That said, here’s a look at how July shaped up.

The Complete Overview (click to enlarge)

The Complete Overview (click to enlarge)

Understanding the Scores:

On questions #1 and #2, “five” is an excellent attitude and “one” is a horrible attitude, “three” would be average.
For question #3, “five” means greatly concerned, “one” means not at all concerned.
For question #4, “five” is extremely optimistic and “one” is extremely pessimistic.

Question #1: How’s your attitude – as well as those around you

Despite the dip in attitude last month (going from a 3.8 to 3.6), we’ve seen an upsurge this month in both personal and other’s attitudes. As a matter of fact, both are at the highest we’ve seen it since I started taking the surveys, although as always, “others attitude” sits well below our own personal attitude. This is a trend I’ve seen for quite some time, not only here, but when I do my personal surveys for others. We tend to think our attitude is better than those around us. (Of course, they think theirs is better than ours…) This month, our personal attitude rose to 4.1 and “others” is at 3.5.

As always, my standard disclaimer is that, although this is the second largest sample I’ve had, it is not a large sample (36) and is a self-selecting survey so we don’t know how accurate it is. That said, the upsurge in attitude could be do to some of the good economic news that started coming out in July. Who knows? It could just be that it was good weather. However, July appears to be the “happpiest” month so far in the survey.

A few selected comments from survey-takers:

Negotiating a huge advance for a full color (assignment) and my attitude went from Fantastic to OFF The Chart ONE of a Kind Tremendous!

Work sucks. Layoffs are rampant. But I still have a job. For now. I’m building a huge nonprofit special event in my spare time, which gives me something to get out of bed for.

I’m grateful that someone in my life modeled “choosing” a good attitude. Also, being able to discern when I just have a case of the blues or if it’s more than that is very important – then I can take the necessary action because I know what’s “going on” inside my head & body.

Over all it is good. I have people here and there that I like to hate.

I’ve never felt more blessed in my life

I am going through the grieving process of losing my adult daughter and some days my attitude is great and some days I’m just sad

I feel strong, but I’m concerned about California in particular.

Summer is here, the weather is great, and people are happy. Yea, the economy sucks but so what? Life is too short to sweat the small stuff!

Some noteworthy comments from survey takers about others’ attitudes

One of the prevailing themes in many of the comments that I did not post are that more and more people are trying NOT to associate themselves with “negative people.” That might account for the increase in our view of other’s attitudes.

Some are good, some are poor, most are optimistic and ready to start feeling good.

I can tell at work and places like grocery store by the looks on people faces, that many people are struggling right now. I enjoy smiling at people and people smile back. A kind word goes a long way in this “stuck to my technology” culture where human connection is taking a beating!

People that have known me for a while are having a hard time adjusting to the new me; I used to allow myself to be a “doormat,” and I’m finding it difficult for those who once used me to accept that those days are gone.

People at work are pulling in their horns and not being as nice as they once were.

Most seem to feel good about everything except the economy. Unemployment in Curry County is about 16%, and there is no future hope for timber or commercial fishing. However, this is forcing people to focus on what is available…tourism and retirement communities. With the summer here, tourism is most on their mind, and it seems good right now.

Here’s the chart showing the overview

AttitudeChart
Four Months of Attitude Tracking — click to enlarge (bold lines are trends)

Question Three: What concerns you?

The top three concerns for the month of July stayed as they were last month but with some minor shifting of numbers:

  1. Economy (from 4.0 in May to 3.7 in June, rising a little to 3.8 in July)
  2. Education (3.3 to 3.6 to 3.8)
  3. Environment (3.3 to 3.5 and holding).

Actually, this shows the economy and education tied for the #1 position, which is, quite frankly, a surprise to me. However, it could be (per comment last month) that due to the fact that my friend Jess Pettitt, who speaks with and for college students has been helping me spread the word (so the sample, small as it is, is skewed more towards college students). Or, it could be that I’m just out of touch and education is really tied with the economy as the most pressing concern that we have. (The chart is after the jump.)

Here’s the chart showing the trends over the last four months for the top three. (Bold is a trend line.)

concerns

Top 3 Concerns in July -- Click to Enlarge

Overall, the top five things that concern us overall for the entire four month run (i.e. highest averages) are:

  1. Economy (3.95)
  2. Environment (3.48)
  3. Education (3.40)
  4. My Job (3.23)
  5. Public health (3.15)

The lowest rated is Terrorism (2.48)

Here’s a chart showing all topics and their trends. The biggest increase in concern comes from Education, rising from 8th position in April to 2nd place now. Conversely, concerns about “my job” have fallen from #3 to #8.

All Topics (click to enlarge)

All Topics (click to enlarge)

A few comments worth noting about this topic include:

Two dying parents, and the specter of unemployment sucks. I live in California and we just dropped to dead last 50 out of 50 in the U.S. on education spending. What ever happened to the Golden State?

Most things, including the economy, go in cycles and let to it’s self it will come around. Meddling with it will delay recovery.

“Concern” is hard to define. I define it as how much I care about it, focus on it and work on it. Don’t confuse it with worry, though. I’m too optimistic to worry. I’d rather spend my time doing something about it than worrying about it.

Question Four: What do you think about the future?

As always, this is the big question, basically, “Where do you think we’re going?”

After last month’s downturn, and per the increase in attitudes in section one, it appears that our long term view is getting a little better. We are more optimistic the further down the road we look. The exception being that we think five years from now will be better than ten years from now. Of course, let’s be honest, with this size sample, that’s a silly comment. After all, who knows? And besides, as several people have commented over the past, “I’m not sure what tomorrow will look like, how can I predict ten years down the road?”

Nonetheless, we do tend to see long-term improvement.

Where are we Going? (click to enlarge)

Where are we Going? (click to enlarge)

Comments:

At least for me, and hope for all! Hope is an interesting word, ancient biblical use, “hope equals joyful expectation.” I have hope!

It’s hard to look that far ahead…things can go many ways…

We are going to see some swings before things settle down

I live in and invest in Asia so not much problem here. The USA, on the other hand, could go through a huge change. China is backing the RMB with gold and could be the world currency in 5 to 10 years, replacing the greenback. If that happens and oil is depegged from the greenback, the US dollar will be on a par with the Mexican peso. No problem if Americans only buy American goods. BIG problem if they want to buy electronics and automobiles made over seas.

Depends on whether or not we change some fundamental things. Can’t guess too far ahead at this point.

Checking the accuracy of the predictions

With one more month in the bank, we can start to compare what people said about the next month with how they actually felt next month. Therein will lie the power of the I3. So, here’s the history so far:

I3 One-Month Predictions (click to enlarge)

I3 One-Month Predictions (click to enlarge)

Understanding the numbers

The first column is what the people taking the I3 predicted the mood of the country would be like in one month. For example, in April, respondents predicted that in May, the attitude of the country would be a 3.0. However, in May, when people took the survey in May, they rated their general attitude to be a 3.8. Therefore, the I3 had what I am calling an “Accuracy Rating” of 78.95% (3.00 divided by 3.80).

Overall, we can see from the above, that the I3 is under-rating attitude by about 20% (see the average).

Looking toward August

In July, respondents said that they predict the mood in August will be a 3.2. (see chart at top of this post) If we divide 3.2 by 80%, we arrive at a 4.0 rating, meaning that the general mood of the country will be on an upswing. (Of course, this is before the whole health care debate started and we don’t know how that will affect things). We shall see how accurate that is next month. Once the I3 is six months old, we will be able to predict a six-month trend; hopefully with some accuracy.

If you would like to take the ongoing I3 survey, go to www.Motivation2009.com.
If you would like to download the overview of July’s report as a pdf, follow this link.
If you would like to see all posting regarding the I3, follow this link.

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