Which Desperate Housewife are you?

Which Desperate Housewife are you? STEVEN RUSSELL (who's definitely keeping his alter ego under wraps, thank you very much) finds out how we can sidestep Susan's ditsy-ness, lose Bree's scary side, and become as competent as Lynette.

Which Desperate Housewife are you? STEVEN RUSSELL (who's definitely keeping his alter ego under wraps, thank you very much) finds out how we can sidestep Susan's ditsy-ness, lose Bree's scary side, and become as competent as Lynette. Well, maybe

MOST of have more choices than ever before. Many of us have more money and material goods than ever before. But are we any happier?

According to a new book, there's evidence to suggest many of us are drowning under the weight of our responsibilities and losing confidence in our ability to juggle a growing number of tasks.

The authors use a modern parable to highlight some of the difficulties of modern existence and some rules that, they feel, we can use to make life better. Steve and Lynn Clark, married and with a five-year-old child, are on the surface a successful and happy couple. However, their relationship is stagnating and their confidence in their life together - and each other - is starting to crumble.

An unsolicited text message asks a searching question, and is followed by another 14 that prompt them to examine their behaviour and their values - and come up with a series of solutions.

These “15 ways to build confidence” get to the root of issues that affect every adult across the UK, say Dr Alex Yellowlees - medical director of the Priory Hospital, Glasgow, and a consultant psychiatrist with a special interest in emotional health - and journalist, broadcaster and author Bill McFarlan.

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Their book talks about a Confidence Compass that has two main axes: one measuring our ability to cope (our self-competence) and one gauging how much we value ourselves (self-worth).

Which is where (in an inspired piece of pre-publication marketing) the Desperate Housewives come in. The writers reckon the four main characters in the show live in different quadrants of the Confidence Compass. When our axes are perfectly balanced, and our abilities are matched by our belief in ourselves, we achieve things and make progress: as Lynette does. But when they're out of kilter, we can become over-driven (Bree), self-obsessed (Gabrielle) or a people-pleaser (Susan).

If you're bold enough, you can try the authors' 10-question quiz to see where you are on the compass - and which Desperate Housewife you might most resemble . . .

Are You Good Enough? 15 Ways to Build a Confident Mindset, is published on May 4 by Capstone, priced £8.99

1. If you have a short presentation to deliver, would you

a. Work on it for days until it's perfect?

b. Pick it up, put it down, get into a sweat over it - convinced you'll fall flat on your face?

c. Be so convinced you'll wow them that you don't need preparation?

d. Dedicate appropriate time and effort - convinced that preparation and practice will pay off?

2. If you're being bullied or spoken to harshly by colleagues, relatives or friends, would you

a. Accept that you can't beat them, because they're stronger than you?

b. Stand your ground, knowing you've got the moral high ground?

c. Plan revenge so spectacular that the bully will be humiliated and you will become a hero?

d. Avoid confrontation until you're at breaking point - then snap?

3. You've had an argument and you now know you were mistaken. Would you

a. Apologise repeatedly - at risk of blowing the incident out of proportion?

b. Say sorry - explain the misunderstanding and undertake to check your facts next time?

c. Refuse to apologise - because he/she never does?

d. Apologise - but justify to yourself why you acted as you did?

4. A friend is acting jealously to the detriment of your relationship with other friends. Would you

a. Meet for a coffee and air your views directly yet tactfully?

b. Chop your troublesome friend down to size in front of the others to give her a taste of her own medicine?

c. Keep putting off confrontation, feeling worse all the time, in the hope things will change for the better?

d. Ignore the jealousy initially - then cut off contact with the troublemaker?

5. You have an awkward problem to solve. Would you

a. Find someone else to solve the problem for you?

b. Analyse it, plan a solution, and solve it?

c. Feel helpless in solving it - then make it worse by tackling it in an appropriate way?

d. Launch into a solution, work at it tirelessly and keep on working at it, convinced it will return to haunt you?

6. When it comes to “me time', do you

a. Make sure there's time left for your self even in the busiest of weeks?

b. Pamper yourself endlessly - because you're worth it?

c. Occasionally plan some time off - but only if nothing else crops up?

d. Always mean to plan leisure time - but seldom get organised?

7. What does the inner voice in your head tell you - is it

a. Telling you how fantastic you are?

b. Constantly nagging you, telling you not to try new things as you normally fail?

c. Encouraging you to go for it, after careful thought?

d. Driving you on - telling you to work harder because your luck will run out?

8. If you feel you've lost direction in your career or personal life, would you

a. Buy yourself new clothes, new gadgets or a new car to cheer yourself up?

b. Ignore the feelings you have and just keep peddling faster in the same direction?

c. Take stock of the situation, work out where you want to go, set goals and go for it?

d. Blame yourself as being “hopeless with directions”, start dashing down new routes - but end up in a spin?

9. A friend asks you to join several other friends for a meal on an evening you're already committed. Do you say

a. “I'll do my best” - then leave the first dinner to join the second, enjoying neither?

b. “I'll try to make it” - but decide which one you're going to only once you've heard who'll attend both?

c. “Sorry”, I'm already committed”?

d. “I hope to be there - but it depends on me getting through my work”?

10. How do you feel within a relationship?

a. As long as the relationship appears great to the outside world, that's OK?

b. I'll go the extra mile for him - but he'll have to go the extra mile for me

c. I just want to be loved - but I sometimes don't feel loveable

d. He should worship the ground I walk on, because I'm special

The answers:

Q1 - A- Bree B- Susan C- Gabrielle D- Lynette

Q2 - A- Susan B- Lynette C- Gabrielle D- Bree

Q3 - A- Susan B- Lynette C- Gabrielle D- Bree

Q4 - A- Lynette B- Gabrielle C- Susan D- Bree

Q5 - A- Gabrielle B- Lynette C- Susan D- Bree

Q6 - A- Lynette B- Gabrielle C- Bree D- Susan

Q7 - A- Gabrielle B- Susan C- Lynette D- Bree

Q8 - A- Gabrielle B- Bree C- Lynette D- Susan

Q9 - A- Susan B- Gabrielle C- Lynette D- Bree

Q10 - A- Bree B- Lynette C- Susan D- Gabrielle

And the analysis:

Gabrielle may be cute - but she knows it and gets away with murder because of her looks. Her feeling of self-worth is almost entirely invested in her looks - and it's difficult to think of anything she's actually competent at. So Gabrielle is self-obsessed. Gabrielle could improve her confidence if she began to believe that she is valuable for what's on the inside as much as the face she presents to the outside.

When you get things wrong - people will accept your mistake if you're honest, say you're sorry, what went wrong and how you'll fix it.

If you feel you've lost direction in life - work out where you are right now, work out where you want to head … and set off.

Bree is entirely the opposite. She's driven by perfectionism. Everything must be in its place or she gets stressed. She's incredibly organised, but inflexible. Her lack of deep-down belief in herself drives her to become very competent (but not necessarily confident). So Bree is driven. Bree needs to learn to relax and not always assume responsibility for things outside her control, she also needs to learn not to be scared of failing occasionally to help her gain perspective on problems and obstacles.

If you have a voice in your head acting as an Inner Critic - train it to offer words of encouragement to you, the way you'd encourage others.

When preparing work - set a time limit on your preparation and go over your work studiously. But once prepared, believe in yourself to deliver.

Susan is constantly fretting about doing the right thing - for her daughter, her boyfriend and her friends. She's a little lacking in competence - making her rather bumbling - and certainly lacking in self-worth. She feels if she's really nice to people, they'll have to love her. So Susan is a people-pleaser. Susan has to learn to place a higher importance on her own priorities, and to recognise that her needs are as valid as those of other people.

If your schedule is hectic - make sure you make time for yourself each week, the way you make time for others.

If you question what you should expect from a relationship - go the extra mile for your partner, but expect them to go the extra mile for you.

Lynette has shown that she can either be a full-time mother or full-time employee. She has competence in both - and belief that she can do either. She knows the challenges and understands how difficult it can be - but she always faces up to the task and deals with it. That's because Lynette is confident.

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