Tips for building Positive Psychological Capital through Positive Psychology

It is a known fact that knowing your weakness is of utmost importance to be self-aware and move ahead. However, the science of positive psychology says KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS AND ENHANCE YOUR POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGICAL CAPITAL (PsyCap). In business world, Economic capital has always been important but then human capital gained importance, as it was the one, which differentiated between successful and more successful organizations. The human capital is the collective knowledge, skills and ideas of the people who work in any organization. As the Microsoft founder, Bill Gates rightly commented that his most valuable asset is the workers who walk out of the company every evening and return every next morning.

After economic capital, next came the social capital; the networking, trust building in the community. Now a day’s all are talking about the Psychological capital -the internal capital of every individual, the strengths and abilities of every individual. Positive Psychological Capital (PPC) is the blend of four personality traits that include:

  • Hope: set of actions and alternatives for achieving ones goals)
  • Self-Efficacy: belief in one’s competency
  • Resilience: persistence in the times of adversity and ability to bounce back
  • Optimism: positive orientation for the outcomes

The four traits or the HERO components of PsyCap are malleable and can be developed, enhanced, and polished in any individual. Luthans, Morgan, and Avolio (2007) have defined PsyCap as  an individual’s positive psychological state of development that is characterized by:

  • having confidence (self-efficacy) to take on and put in the necessary effort to succeed at challenging tasks;
  • making a positive attribution (optimism) about succeeding now and in the future;
  • persevering toward goals, and when necessary, redirecting paths to goals (hope) in order to succeed;
  • when beset by problems and adversity, sustaining and bouncing back and even beyond (resiliency) to attain success.

How to Build Positive Psychological Capital (PsyCap)?

HOPE: Hope means willpower and way power, in simple words – plan your step-by-step pathway to success, have faith to sustain through the way with an open eye to being flexible as and when required. Enjoy the way without feeling the stress of thinking that the way ahead is too long.

To build hope:

  1. Start with setting up small achievable goals and build on them to reach big end goals. Look for things in life, which you can appreciate and be happy for them. Enjoy every small success and relish every achievement on the way to the goal. To remain motivated it is important that each success should be a motivation for the path ahead.
  2. Plan the way and means to achieve the set goals and make concrete pathways and strategies for achieving the set goals.
  3. Keep alternatives and back-up plans and know when it the right time to change the route. Hopeful people are always flexible and have substitutes to switch over when required.
  4. Do not give up easily but do not be rigid and re-goal when required.

SELF-EFFICACY: Confidence in ones abilities and resources needed to succeed. Belief in one’s capability and ability to accomplish the given task. It is a combination of two facets:

  1. Expected Outcome
  2. Expected self-competency and resourcefulness

To be self-efficacious:

  1. Recollect and rewind past achievements – Achieving ones small goals gives confidence and motivation to work ahead. Reliving the past successes gives us the required boost when we are stuck or unable to move ahead on the path. So always, remember the achievements and take the success shot to give yourself the push. Mental rehearsal of tasks to be done and preparation of alternatives for possible challenges and obstacles helps to develop and strengthen our competencies.
  2. Replicate successful people- Observation is one of the most important tool to learn anything. To develop self-efficacy observe people who have achieved what you wish to achieve and you will learn how to model your behaviour in the correct manner. The closer one is to the actions and ways of doing things the more is our confidence in ourselves.
  3. Reframe negative experiences and failures – Always try to learn from failures and take your lessons seriously to see them as challenges and not as obstacles. Every learning from the past failed experiences leads to successful future.
  4. Re-create situations for success- Self-talk and reassurance that one can succeed leads to visualizing new opportunities that can be re-created.

RESILIENCE: The ability to survive and thrive on challenges and come out stronger. To enhance and become resilient be prepared for the obstacles in advance, focus on your strengths and focus on working on strengths and reducing the risks.

  1. Face the truth, divert attention – Plan to work on both the limitations and strengths, and don’t turn a blind eye on the reality.
  2. Reflect objectively – Be objective and avoid the negative thoughts by focusing on the possibilities and resources available rather than what is not available. Evaluate the beliefs about the problems and look for alternatives.
  3. Move away and look for new meaning in failures and losses – Distance yourself from the situation and do not be over-whelmed when surrounded by the difficulties. Move away and try to see the situation as an outsider.
  4. Create and look for new open doors – Bounce back by creating new opportunities and avenues for yourself based on the resources available.

OPTIMISM: The ability to be positive and have belief that one will succeed now and in the future too. As it is said, self-belief is battle half-won. The way an individual evaluates the occurring events in their lives guides the outcome of their actions.

The way we assess past events has a major impact on how we predict the future. Reframing is an excellent tool to change the outlook and to achieve a change in vision.

  1. Change the point of focus – Approach the obstacles and challenges with calmness and resolve. Whenever you face failure shift your attention to see what you achieved and how the gaps could be filled. Do not be disheartened but try to learn from mistakes.
  2. Accept the past, enjoy the present, and see the future as an opportunity. Accept the positive criticism, be happy to have attempted and hopeful that the future will be better.
  3. Reframe the present, change the future – Re-orient yourself, and reframe your pathway with the belief that the new path will lead to success.
  4. Accept the failure and learn from it to change the future – Success is many times preceded by failing attempts, mistakes, and slips but to overcome them through re-assessment, re-evaluation, and realization of reality.

Four Rs of Positive Psychological Capital






Luthans F., Youssef, C.M., & Avolio, B. J. (2007). Psychological capital. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.