Ask Yourself

Do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements? Put a check under the number that indicates how you feel.

+2 = Strongly agree + 1 = Agree 0 = No opinion “1 = Disagree ~2 = Strongly disagree

+2 +1 0 -1 -2

1. The welfare of the individual is more

important than the welfare of the group. __________ _____ _____ _____ ____

2. Our destiny is in our own hands. ____ _____ _____ _____ ____

3. People should take care of themselves, solve their own problems, and stand on

their own two feet. ____ _____ _____ _____ ____

4. If I could have a better life in another

country, I would go and live there. ____ _____ _____ _____ ____

5. Earning a lot of money is more important

than having an interesting job. ____ _____ _____ _____ ____

6. The government should take care of the

poor and homeless. ____ _____ _____ _____ ____

7. Life is basically a competitive race for

success. ____ _____ _____ _____ ____

8. Money and material possessions are the

best indicators of high social status. ____ _____ _____ _____ ____

9. People who work hard deserve to have a

higher standard of living than others. ____ _____ _____ _____ ____

10. If I work hard, I am sure I can be a

success and get what I want in life. ____ _____ _____ _____ ____

Your teacher will place the numbers +2, +1, 0, -1, -2 on walls around the room. As the teacher reads the above statements, walk to the number that best describes your opinion. Be prepared to explain your choice.

Interview several Americans of different ages and ask them about their basic beliefs. If this is not possible, try to interview people from several different countries. Ask each one the following questions and record their answers.

1. Some people say that people achieve success by their own hard work; others say that luck and help from other people are more important. Which do you think is more important?

2. Do you agree or disagree with this statement: If you work hard in this country, eventually you will get ahead.

3. On the whole, how satisfied are you with the life you lead? Would you say that you are very satisfied, fairly satisfied, not very satisfied, or not at all satisfied?

4. In the course of the next five years, do you expect your personal situation to improve, to stay about the same, or to get worse?

Compare Polls

In the polls that follow, Americans and Europeans were asked to rate how satisfied they were with their lives today and how optimistic they were about the future (questions 3 and 4 of Ask Americans).

Look at the charts that follow. Then, answer the questions on the next page.

Very Satisfied with Their Lives



Source: The Harris Poll® *30, May 21. 2003, conducted by Harris Interactive Inc.

Expect Personal Situation
Will Improve in the Next 5 Years


Source: The Harris Poll® »30. May 21, 2003. conducted by Harm Interactive Inc

1. How do the results you and your classmates obtained compare with the answers the pollsters obtained about how Americans feel about their present and future lives?

2. In general, who are more satisfied with their lives today, Americans or Europeans?

3. In general, who are more optimistic about what their lives will be like in the next five years, Americans or Europeans?

4. In which country are people the most satisfied with their lives today?

5. In which country are people most optimistic about life in the future?

Updated: 18th July 2015 — 3:16 pm