The English word exuberance has a certain ring to it, so much so that even non-English speaking people probably recognize that it connotes a joyful, celebrant quality, rich with excitement, almost lustful (in a polite way), living with the positive emotion of cheerful ebullience.
Exuberance is about human flourishing.
As a REAL wellness dimension, exuberance is the category for happiness and joy, meaning and purpose, social and relationship connections, the quality of work, careers and more. It’s hard to go overboard seeking exuberance–synonyms for the term suggest its attractive qualities, including but not limited to jauntiness, high spirits, exultation, gaiety, effervescence, vivacity, zest and even chirpiness! Exuberance is expressed in the contagiousness of play, laughter, the giddiness of new (and old) love, the intoxicating effects of music and in varied forms of religious ecstasy. (Note: Mention of religious ecstasy in this context should not be seen as an endorsement of being slain in the spirit, dancing with poisonous reptiles, exorcisms or other forms of group squealing, shrieking, inability to stand or sit, loudly uttering apocalyptic prophecies, holy laughter or human barking.)
As with anything else taken to ad absurdum levels, exuberance can be and is in some cases experienced in unattractive, jejune ways. Three examples should suffice to make the point:
- Artificial highs beyond the heights, with loss of one’s usual capabilities of sound judgment, as with overindulgence in chemical substances, such as drugs and alcohol.
- Reckless decisions, as in irrational exuberance. (A phrase Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan coined to describe the dot-com bubble of the 1990s.)
- Aberrant behaviors, as seen in mood disorders. For example, bipolar disorder, once known as manic depression, is an affective disorder defined by manic or hypomanic episodes. It’s a serious disease.
The last noted example of excesses are not poor choices, so much as medical conditions or cultural aberrations. They are cited only to recognize that exuberance, while a highly positive and desirable experience, can have a dark side, under curious and unusual circumstances.
SCORING THIS TEST
The Exuberance self-assessment contains ten statements. Each statement is prefaced by a background commentary that provides a context for a fuller understanding of the statement to follow.
Please choose a number from one to five that reflects the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement. If you strongly believe that your thinking or situation aligns with the statement, place the number 5 as your answer choice in the space provided. If you strongly disagree, enter the number 1.
One and five are the two extreme positions.
The middle number 3 represents a neutral position, indicating that you are not sure where you fit or take a middle ground position for this statement.
The numbers 2 and 4 should be selected to express a modest alignment with one side or the other along the five-part continuum. The number 2 would reflect mild disagreement; 4 would signify mild agreement with the statement.
Upon completion of ratings for the ten statements, an interpretative commentary is provided based upon your cumulative score. A selection of ten Exuberance-focused books are included as recommended readings.
A NOTE FOR BEST RESULTS
This instrument is not intended as a competition, but rather for purposes of a personal self-assessment. Therefore, please be scrupulously frank with your self-assessment ratings.
The value of the assessment will be in the degree to which your score accurately represents your thinking. The cumulative score of point totals for all ten statements will determine the feedback provided. This should be valuable for making positive adjustments, if needed and desired.