It’s great to be back at School. Christmas has been lovely spending plenty of time with friends and family and eating lots of great food (and sometimes not so healthy food!). I have enjoyed seeing so many members of our community looking refreshed and ready to face the fun and challenges of another term. Inevitably, however, I hear the occasional grumble: cold and dark mornings, long days, mock exams. Thankfully the grumbles are few and far between but they did fit in with my Chapel address for the beginning of this term. I always remind our students about the need to aim high, work hard and look after each other but I focused on a key element of success and happiness: Positivity.
I was once asked in an interview a number of years ago “what keeps you awake at night?” “Negativity” I replied.
As someone who is blessed to be surrounded with so many positive, energetic, upbeat people it is hard to understand why some people often see the worst in a situation, in themselves, in others. Why do some people think that others are out to deliberately make their lives difficult? We all have negative thoughts from time to time but some more so than others.
The solution lies in positive thinking and it’s no surprise that a multi billion pound industry has sprung up surrounding this area. Negative thoughts are just that – thoughts. My advice to members of our community, including myself, is to challenge the factual basis of every negative thought. In many cases we are being negative about something that hasn’t actually happened. Positive thinking does not mean that negatives do not exist. There is a thin line between positive thinking and living in denial. Positive thinkers, however, do not refuse to recognise the negative; they refuse to dwell on it.
In many of the books related to positive thinking we are advised to avoid the people who bring us down. There is a lovely quote by Einstein: “stay away from negative people – they have a problem for every solution”. This approach, however, does not fit with our supportive ethos and the message to look after each other. We must therefore help negative thinkers to see the positives. It is the responsibility of all of us to challenge negative behaviour but to challenge it in a positive way. We can remind people that they have many positive qualities, that they have many positives in their lives and that negative behaviour is not helpful.
By thinking positively we focus on solutions rather than dwelling on difficulties. We spend time building up strengths rather than feeling sorry for ourselves. We also support others in building up their strengths and helping them to overcome challenges.
So here’s to a positive term and 2018.