The Talent

January 10, 2012 3:34 PM

The Careerist: Secrets to Good Grades and a Happy Career

Posted by Vivia Chen

This sounds a bit squishy to me—but according to a recent study published in Journal of Research in Personality, being hopeful can help you get good grades in law school and pave the way to a satisfying career.

The study, which looked at the attitudes of 86 incoming students at Indiana University's Robert H. McKinney School of Law, draws a sharp distinction between hopefulness and optimism, reports The National Law Journal. "Optimism," according to one of the researchers, is "the expectation that the future will be good, regardless of how this happens," while "hope" is "the expectation about things you have actual control over."

The way I read it, hopefulness has to do with effort, while optimism is just irrational exuberance. In other words, hope is good; optimism not so good.

Here's what the researchers find:

High rates of hope correlated to higher law school GPAs, as did higher undergraduate GPAs. There was no significant relationship between high levels of optimism and law school grades. However, higher levels of both optimism and hope predicted psychological well-being and life satisfaction among the survey participants.

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