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Family Money Health Work Play Community Reunions Expert Advice

How Well Do You Handle Adversity?

Number of questions: 24
Time required: 4 to 5 minutes

What you say to yourself during stress and adversity is your explanatory style. It influences your performance, your mood, and even your health.

This short check-up from world renowned psychologist Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman will give you a sense of whether your style is optimistic or pessimistic and how your style affects your ability to function at your best.

For more information, check out

1. The project you are in charge of is a great success.
  I kept a close watch over everyone's work.
  Everyone devoted a lot of time and energy to it.

2. You and your partner make up after a fight.
  I forgave him/her.
  I'm usually forgiving.

3. You get lost driving to a friend's house:
  I missed a turn.
  My friend gave me bad directions.

4. Your partner surprises you with a gift.
  He/she just got a raise at work.
  I took him/her out to a special dinner the night before.

5. You forget your partner's birthday:
  I'm not good at remembering birthdays.
  I was preoccupied with other things.

6. You get a flower from an admirer.
  I am attractive to him/her.
  I am a popular person.

7. You run for a community office position and you win.
  I devote a lot of time and energy to campaigning.
  I work very hard at everything I do.

8. You miss an important engagement:
  Sometimes my memory fails me.
  I sometimes forget to check my appointment book.

9. You run for a community office and lose:
  I didn't campaign hard enough.
  The person who won knew more people.

10. You host a successful dinner.
  I was particularly charming that night.
  I am a good host.

11. You stop a crime by calling the police.
  A strange noise caught my attention.
  I was alert that day.

12. You buy your husband a gift and he doesn't like it:
  I don't put enough thought into things like that.
  He has very picky tastes.

13. You gain weight over the holidays and can't lose it:
  Diets don't work in the long run.
  The diet I tried didn't work.

14. Your stocks make you a lot of money.
  My broker decided to take on something new.
  My broker is a top notch investor.

15. You win an athletic contest.
  I was feeling unbeatable.
  I train hard.

16. You fail an important examination:
  I wasn't as smart as the others taking the exam.
  I didn't prepare for it well.

17. Your boss gives you too little time to finish a project, but you get it finished anyway.
  I am good at my job.
  I am an efficient person.

18. You lose a sporting event for which you have been training for a long time:
  I'm not very athletic.
  I'm not good at that sport.

19. Your car runs out of gas on a dark street late at night:
  I didn't check to see how much gas was in the tank.
  The gas gauge was broken.

20.  You lose your temper with a friend:
  He is always nagging me.
  He was in a hostile mood.

21.  You are penalized for not returning your income tax forms on time:
  I always put off doing my taxes.
  I was lazy about getting my taxes done this year.

22.  You ask a person out on a date and he says "no.":
  I was a wreck that day.
  I got tongue-tied when I asked her to the dance.

23.  A game show host picks you out of the audience to participate in the show.
  I was sitting in the right seat.
  I looked the most enthusiastic.

24.  You save a person from choking to death.
  I know a technique to stop someone from choking.
  I know what to do in a crisis situation.

Copyright © 2000 Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman. All rights reserved.

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