6th 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 and is published every one to two months. This month, we continue with short term as well as longer-term predictions!

If you would like to take the ongoing I3 survey, go to www.Motivation2010.com.

2009 Comes to An End

(and some might say, “Not a minute too soon..”)

Because we have now accumulated so much data, the master chart (below) only shows the last six months.

All Stats for Last Six Months (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.

As always, my standard disclaimer is that samples are not very large (averaging 36 a month) and the survey is self-selecting so we don’t know how accurate it is. However, that doesn’t take away from pondering what it means. (Please post your comments too.)

Questions #1 #2: How’s your attitude – as well as those around you

December showed a decline in attitude for both you and for others around you, sliding from 3.8 to 3.6 in the former and from 3.7 to 3.2 in the latter. Although we’ve always heard that holidays are “the most wonderful time of the year,” conventional wisdom (as well as the I3) seem to say otherwise. Although the holidays can be a fun and exciting time of year, it’s also a very busy time of year as well as a month known for bad weather. Beyond that, if you’re alone this time of year, or if you cannot afford the pressure of buying gifts, December can indeed be a “downer” and maybe that’s why the numbers dropped.

One other thing that struck me was the (dark blue) trend line on YOUR ATTITUDE. It seems to be leveling out, leading one to wonder (or at least me) if this is “as good as it gets.” Will our collective attitude  stay slightly above positive, never rising and never falling — or are about to see the trend line start to decline?

The other interesting thing is that OTHERS ATTITUDES is still trending upward. Are we starting to feel more of a kinship to others around us? Overall, as with last month, the convergence between “My Attitude” and “Others Attitude” continues.

Trends: MINE vs. OTHERS full survey period (click to enlarge)

Factors influencing the I3 during December

Staring in August, I began making a note of major international and international events that could be influencing the collective attitude. Following are stories I considered to be significant for December:

  • Fall out from Obama’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan
  • Health care bill debate continues
  • Tiger Woods scandal
  • Copenhagen environmental conference
  • The Holidays
  • Obama accepts peace prize
  • Unemployment drops from 10.2% to 10%
  • B of A repays TARP Loan
  • Holidays
  • Underpants (“Christmas Day”) bomber
A few selected comments from survey-takers about their attitudes:

Quite good considering I’m dealing with some tough emotional and financial problems due to my husband’s death. Counseling is a must when you go through really tough times.

Am trying to remain positive but holidays are hard and am also dealing with stresses of year end at work and a very sick cat that the vet has no idea what is wrong.

The weather’s yucky but everyone in the family is healthy and employed. I would like more laughter in my life…I’ll have to look for it!

I feel just “so so” 90% of the time. The other 10% of the time I’m in the “poor” mode.

Feel like I haven’t made a contribution to life.

Overall good, but a little concerned financially.

Generally positive about life, working on not worrying about things I can’t control

I always try to find one “special” comment. This time the “Optimist of the Month” award goes to

Mom died, cat sick, Dad getting dementia, business in the tank. But GREAT friends!

Some noteworthy comments from survey takers about others’ attitudes; definitely a trend in the comments.

I think the economy is rough for just about all the people I know and it’s taking its toll.

We’re not all out of the woods yet. Need to rebuild reserves that have been depleted this past year.

Seems people are trying to keep their head above water and struggling to maintain a balance.

Most everyone seems to be even these days, though the energy overall is pretty flat this holiday season. I am sure it is related to unemployment and the economy.

People seem to be obsessing over the economy and repeatedly talking about hard times – it’s not affecting me all that much so it doesn’t get me down.

Most of my friends are discouraged and broke.

A lot of people are feeling nervous financially, which spills over into their attitudes about everything else.

Question Three: What concerns you?

The chart at the top of this post sorts the nine problems based on what registers the most concern over the entire time since the I3. For the last few months, Education had been the largest concern for that particular month. However, that changes this month. The Top Three concerns for  December specifically are below. (Actually, there are four because it’s a three-way tie for #2.)

The top three concerns at the end of November were:

  1. Economy (3.6 in December, staying flat from November)
  2. Education (3.2 in December, down from 3.7 in November. I gave this the #2 position because it’s long term average is 3.49, which is higher than the next two.)
  3. Environment (3.2 in December, staying flat from November. Long term rating 3.39)
  4. My Personal Health (3.2 in December, down from 3.5 in October. Long term rating 3.10) NOTE: The Swine Flu was a major story in November so this indeed makes sense.

The chart with the top four and their six-month trends is after the jump.

Here’s the chart showing the trends of the top four since the I3’s inception

Top 4 Concerns Trends (click to enlarge)

Overall, the top five things that concern us overall for the entire run of the I3 (i.e. highest averages) are:

  1. Economy (3.73, almost the same as it was at 3.75)
  2. Education (3.49 trending slightly down from 3.53)
  3. Environment (3.39 holding virtually flat from 3.41)
  4. Public Health (3.24 trending down from 3.30)
  5. Personal Health (3.10 staying virtually flat from 3.09. In its second month in the Top Five, replacing Personal Job two months ago)

The lowest rated remains Terrorism (2.54 staying virtually flat from 2.53 previously) NOTE: Terrorism became a major news item towards the end of December due to the “Underpants Bomber” and the subsequent conversation about Yemen. It will be interesting to see if there is any effect in January’s report.

Comments from survey-takers on Question #3:

Both my husband and father died in 2009 so I’m very concerned about having to start a business in this economy. Other issues like the environment are important but not critical at this time.

Confidence needs to be widespread. Early movers are jumping back in.

I guess life is really pretty good overall…I do worry about war – I guess I don’t see our Afghanistan situation and Iraq situations as related to terrorism. They were invasions of other countries….

Finances worry me the most.

I try not to worry too much about things that I don’t feel I have much control over.

Most of these things are out of my control, I let God worry about them and focus on my day to day life.

Of course, some problems never change…

Raising teenagers – need I say more?

Question Four: What do you think about the future?

One trend that has been consistent since the inception of the I3 is that the further into the future we look, the more optimistic we tend to be. (The purple line represents where we will be six months from December, 2009 [May, 2010], the green line is December, 2010; red is December 2014, and Yellow is 2019.

Where are we Going? (click to enlarge)

One observation is that — with the exception of the five and ten year projections, which are trending pretty flat — overall attitude on the other three predictions is upwards, an optimistic sign. However, there seems to be a divergence between “next month” versus “six months from now” or “one year from now.” In other words, one might say that while we’re still more optimistic about the future, we’re not staying as optimistic about the short term.

The following chart shows the three more current trends with trend lines (dotted).

(Expanded) Shorter Term Trending Predictions (click to enlarge)
Comments:

The economic cycle goes around every so often, and I am concerned about the national debt in 10 years and its impact on our economy. I hope that 5 years from now things are better, and I also hope we have all learned a lesson to save more and spend less. Thanks for asking.

I am hopeful things will be better in 5 years, but not confident they will be.

I retire in 7 1/2 years – I am looking forward to that. I love my work, but there’s so much in life I want to do besides work

I’m pretty optimistic that things will turn around and so long as you have the love and support of family and friends, a job, what more is there? Live within your means and life will be great! Every day is a treasure and a joy!!

The future is what you make it.

Checking the accuracy of the predictions

Where we will be one month from now?

Here’s a look at how accurately we predicting the next month since the inception of the I3.

Accuracy History for 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, as we can see from the above, that the I3 is under-rating attitude by a little less than 20% because it’s 85.08% accurate (see the total average).

Looking toward the Future – one month prediction

In December, respondents said that they predict the mood in January will be a 3.3. (see chart at the very top of this post) If we divide 3.3 by 85.08%, we arrive at a 3.88 rating, meaning that the general mood of the country will be on a strong upswing.

Looking toward the Future – six month prediction

This is relatively new but uses the same methodology as the one month prediction. We also have fewer numbers to deal with. Following is the chart, with a 92.59% accuracy rating.

Six Month Accuracy Predictions

In December (again from the chart at the top of the page), respondents predicted that six months from now, our collective attitude will be a 3.7, up from the 3.3 they’re predicting for next month. If we take 3.7 and divide it by the accuracy rating of 92.59%, we get 4.00 for June of 2010.

If you would like to take the ongoing I3 survey, go to www.Motivation2010.com.
If you would like to download the overview of December’s report as a pdf, follow this link.

If you would like to see all postings regarding the I3, follow this link.

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~ by scottqmarcus on January 20, 2010.

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