Shane Lopez

Self-proclaimed hopemonger, Shane Lopez, has made it his mission to help people of all ages exercise control over their future. As the world’s leading researcher on hope, Lopez seeks to teach people how to aim for the future they want in school, work, and life. Lopez researches the links between hope, strengths development, academic success, and overall well-being, and collaborates with scholars around the world on these issues. Lopez was a professor of psychology at the University of Kansas for a decade, before leaving to battle an illness. It was during this time that he realized the power of hope and how crucial it is to our lives and to success. Lopez went on to write a book about hope called, Making Hope Happen. As a licensed psychologist and Fellow of the American Psychological Association, he is one of the most vocal advocates of psychological reform in America’s education system. Shane Lopez is currently a Senior Scientist at Gallup and Research Director of the Clifton Strengths Institute.

Lopez’s Theory of Hope

Making Hope Happen is a practical guide to the anatomy of hope - how to create, use, and share it. Lopez created a scientifically based blueprint for mobilizing the energy and power of hope in every area of an individual’s life. Shane Lopez believes that hope is the leading indicator of success in relationships, academics, career, and business, and the key to a happier and healthier life. He once stated, “Intelligence is overrated. When I met people who were very smart but overwhelmed with life, I realized intelligence has very little to do with coping. It has very little to do with happiness. It has very little to do with general success in life.” Hope, on the other hand, matters. Hope is a positive attitude, plus action. It is believing that the future will be better than the present and that one has the power to make it so.

Hope Matters for Student Success - Shane Lopez

Believing in the power of hope and emotional well-being, Lopez seeks to push schools to function less like impersonal factories and more like dynamic human development centers. Lopez is the Chief Architect of the Gallup Student Poll and has measured over one million students on hope, engagement, and well-being. His measures tap into the hearts and minds of US public school students to determine what drives achievement. Lopez works with students from all grade levels, including preschool to college graduates. He even created an app called My Hope Odyssey that helps individuals chase their goals and track their progress via a game.

Lopez and Frameworks

A survey of US public school students revealed that we are currently in a hope deficit. Of the 600,000 students surveyed, only 54% of students thought their future would be better than their present. The remaining students did not have a positive outlook for their future; even if they had the desire to make their future better, they had no idea how to do it. In order to close this gap, we must teach children how to make their dreams a reality. The way to do this is to make sure students understand themselves, their goals, and their strengths. Social and emotional learning plays a role in understanding the self and is crucial to developing hope and achieving success.

Additional Resources

The Science of Hope: An Interview with Shane Lopez Making Hope Happen - Live Happy How Hope Works