A colleague’s status update on Facebook caught my eye and set me thinking earlier and it’s got me a little annoyed. He basically commented that “Go in thinking positive things and good things will happen”, but in reference to his students and how his lessons wernt today.
I’m annoyed because I’ve heard this before and while I would agree that a positive attitude is a good place to start the day, I don’t believe that it’s an automatic process that being positive brings on good things. Oh, I do think it can turn around a bad day and all that jazz. But I don’t believe that you create your reality this way. I’ve had loads of times where I have started out thinking positively and then everything has just gone wrong and turned out badly. I’ve also had many times where I’ve thought beforehand the day was going to go badly(like yesterday) and it’s turned out brilliantly (again, like yesterday)
I think it’s pretty much a matter of chance; a whole host of things beyond my ken and beyond my control. And it upsets me when people preach or are smug about “being positive” because once more it throws it back onto blaming myself when things don’t go well. You can do all the right things and nothing works; who do you blame then?
If I give a slightly different example it might help. When my daughter was a baby and a toddler, she was one of those kids that didn’t sleep. She did not sleep through the night, reliably till she was past five or six (actually, she doesn’t now but these days she gets on with it herself!) But I was among a lot of other parents whose kids did sleep and did do all the things they wanted them to do, so I had to listen to them crowing about what wonderful parents they were and how their bedtime routine was perfect blah blah blah. It didn’t matter that I had tried everything in all the books and a few more less orthodox things I found elsewhere. Nothing made any difference. I had a brief moment of glory when one mum had a second child who refused to play by their rules and made life hell for them; this lady had to admit to me that she’d thought that her first child was “good” because of what she and her husband did for it, and that now she could see it was nothing to do with her and it was all down to that first child being an easy child.
It’s like that with life, really. Sometimes it all falls neatly into place and things work. And other times, every damn thing that can go wrong, does go wrong and no amount of positive thinking can change that. It can help get you through, I admit that but only because you tend to be thankful for small mercies. I came home from one awful day at work last year and all I could say was, “Well, nobody died!”
My colleague is a nice chap and is always cheerful but I do wish he and others wouldn’t assume that things going well is down to them in some mystical way. Logic being what it is, I do wonder if people who think like that also think that things going wrong are somehow their fault but my experience is that they never do.
Life happens. Shit (pardon my French) happens. It’s actually quite rare that it’s anything much to do with us, good or bad; we’re just collateral damage.