7th 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.

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

Welcome to 2010

The master chart (below) shows the last several months but Total Average is since inception of the survey. Concerns are sorted based on Highest to Lowest in the most recent month.

All Stats for Last Several 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 even though January had the highest number of participants, samples are not very large (averaging 38 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

Maybe it’s the new year, but for whatever reason January showed an uptick  in attitude for both you and for others around you, climbing from 3.6 to 3.7  in the former and from 3.4 to 3.6 in the latter. This is despite the resurgence of partisan politics and lots of bad weather across the country.

Last month, I made an observation that the trend line on YOUR ATTITUDE (dark blue) seemed to be leveling out, almost becoming flat,  leading me to wonder if  we are now approaching our baseline.  If you look at the chart above, you’ll notice that this month’s personal attitude was 3.7 and the average since inception is 3.69, further backing up that theory. The other interesting thing is that OTHERS ATTITUDES is still trending upward and closing in on our personal attitude. When the survey started, the difference was approximately .5 (3.2 for others and 3.7 for personal). Now the difference is only about .1.

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

Factors influencing the I3 during January

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 January:

  • Resolutions
  • Haiti earthquake
  • Eureka, CA earthquake (I only include this because I live in Eureka and it’s likely a disproportionate number of participants therefore do too)
  • Unemployment rate stays flat but 85K job loss
  • Obama’s first year comes to an end
  • MA senate race goes to Republican Scott Brown in a major upset
  • Major rain and snow storms
  • State of the Union Address
  • Obama speaks to the Republicans at their retreat
A few selected comments from survey-takers about their attitudes:

Gratitude is the key for me…

Considering the weather, it is probably great

I’ve never had the mood swings of late…crazy energy & enthusiasm one minute & negative the next.

A couple of real nice days I would be hitting the 5.

Struggling to stay positive.

Good days and bad days…trying to make the good outweigh the bad. I lost my dad to pancreatic cancer in October, so it’s been a rocky road especially through the holidays.

I find the winter wet months depressing, so it doesn’t help my attitude- especially about dieting.

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

It was stressful because of financial issues (business cash flow)! But the Saints are going to the Super Bowl and the weather is gorgeous, so my attitude is much improved!

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

One theme that seems to be emerging lately is how many people are “shedding” negative people from their lives.

I try not to be around miserable people.

I’m dealing with a perplexing person who gossips and embroiders the truth. Friends are wonderful. So it evens out to a “4”

most of my “People” are trying to keep a positive attitude in the face of some difficulties.

I try to keep good positive people in my life.

Mostly… I think we could all use a couple sunny days.

i think most other people are in need of a better attitude!

I like almost everyone at work just fine.

My co-workers share my frustrations.

I really try hard to keep people in my “circle” who gives off positive energy.

This comment in particular stood out:

Most people have been pretty negative lately…pessimistic – can it get any worse – really makes it tough for generally optimistic people.

Question Three: What concerns you?

The chart at the top of this post sorts the nine problems based on what registers the most concern for the last month.  This chart graphs their ups and downs since July.

Although the economy fell into second place (behind education) last fall, it appears to be far and above, the top concern we still face.

As the chart illustrates, the top four concerns at the end of January were:

  1. Economy (3.9 in January, really shooting up from 3.6 the last few months and 3.4 in October)
  2. Environment (3.4 in January, up from 3.2 in December. Although it technically ties with “My Personal Health,” I gave this the #2 position because it’s long term average is 3.39, which is higher than the next one at 3.13.)
  3. My Personal Health (3.4 in January, up from 3.2 in December)
  4. Education (3.3 in January, down from 3.2 in December)

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

  1. Economy (holding at 3.75)
  2. Education (3.47, continuing it’s very slight downward trajectory from 3.49)
  3. Environment (holding at 3.39)
  4. Public Health (holding at 3.24)
  5. Personal Health (climbing from 3.10 to 3.13)

Last month, I wondered if the news about the attempted airplane bombing from Yemen, which appeared at the end of December, would have any effect as more news about it came out. Terrorism as a concern did climb from 2.70 in December to 3.10. So, one can assume it did have an influence, yet it remains the lowest concern we have  (climbing to 2.60 from 2.54). Although International Relations was below Terrorism in January (2.80 vs 3.10), International Relations still has a higher long term concern (2.98 to 2.60 for Terrorism)

Comments from survey-takers on Question #3:

I think most things fall in the middle somewhere…not tending toward extremes at the moment.

Seems to be all about me these days, I’m sorry to say.

We all seem to focus on our little circles

Congestion heart failure will skew one’s perspective on many issues, but personal health especially.

My children suffer because of the economy!

My personal health is good and no negative personal family issues at this time – that’s why they don’t bother me, but I take both very seriously.

I have found that being concerned about things beyond my realm of control is pretty much a waste of time. Therefore, I’m more concerned about the immediate, personal level of my life.

Although I am concerned about the plight of other people, I try to focus on things I have control over.

Family issues: have a grandson who is autistic and my son has problems getting the correct help for him in the educational system. This is very frustrating to me!!

RETIRED! No job worries. Have 8 grand kids so I do worry about the future for them.

Advice from one participant…

Better to be in the moment – worrying doesn’t accomplish anything really.

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 January, 2010 [June, 2010], the green line is January 2011; red is January 2015, and Yellow is 2020. (Red & Yellow both converged as of last month – not that anyone can possibly really predict that far into the future anyway.)

Where are we Going? (click to enlarge)

As we can see from the next chart, showing the one-month, six-month, and one-year projections, overall trends for each (dotted line) is up, despite the fact that they all dipped last month.

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

Really depends on the Obama admin and how the economy shapes up or NOT!

As long as we have a Democratic as president, things will continue to improve.

I am realistic, and very optimistic.

It’s all about cycles!

I have a good job that I like very much. I’m 55, but I have no retirement, no pension. I barely make enough money to pay my mortgage. I have health insurance through my employer, but I can barely pay the deductibles. I see myself continuing to get poorer as I age.

I’d like to consider myself an optimist!

I like to think things will straighten out and get better if we all do a little to help.

Everything moves in cycles, unfortunately we are in this crappy one now and being out of work scrapping to get by on freelance work does not help.

Two comments in particular stood out to me. The first one hit home because, even though I’m 55, I’ve never quite thought of the future in such stark terms, although it makes sense.

As I age (am 70) find it harder to think about 10 or 20 years from now!!

The second comment that stood out did so because someone saw a career potential

I want to be a full time facilitator for depressed people.

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  (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 monthly attitude by about 15% because it’s 84.78% accurate (see the total average). It is more accurate for the six-month period, under-rating by about 9% (91.03% accurate)

Looking toward the Future – one month prediction

In January, respondents said that they predict the mood in February will be a 3.3, just as they said it would be in January. (see chart at the very top of this post) If we divide 3.3 by 84.78%, we arrive at a 3.89 rating, meaning that the general mood of the country will be on a strong upswing.

Looking toward the Future – six month prediction

In January (again from the chart at the top of the page), respondents predicted that six months from now, our collective attitude will be a 3.6, up from the 3.3 they’re predicting for next month. If we take 3.6 and divide it by the accuracy rating of 91.03%, we get 4.28 for July 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 January’s report as a pdf, folow this link

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


~ by scottqmarcus on February 20, 2010.

One Response to “7th Analysis of the International Inspiration Index (I3)”

  1. nice post, could i print it for a wall magazine?

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