“Do just once what others say you can’t do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again.”
James R. Cook
Believing in ourselves is not only necessary to give us a motivation to wake up every morning and proceed to the million chores we have to do along with an incessant number of duties, but it helps us adopting positive thinking. And perhaps even more importantly, believing in ourselves often extends to our children – how they perceive themselves, in relation to their peers, and to us, as their first role models.
Remember, positive thinking is essential to our personal growth as well as that of our children’s. It is the foundation of courage, by laying down the path for our formation and true progress.
Want to hear some good news?
Positive thinking, or optimism, is contagious. Really, it is! Have you ever smiled at someone who happened to be a complete stranger, who smiled at you back and somehow filled you with an inexplicable inner happiness, as if you have contributed to some strange positive energy in the world? Perhaps karma? What comes around, goes around, kind of thing. Probably you have, even without knowing it.
Optimism and positive thinking is therefore a powerful tool when it comes to influencing others. This requires us, however, to have genuine feelings for others and to recognize them as whole persons – with their own capabilities, emotions, and gifts.
To give an example, way back in 2007, I had started working as a teacher of English to foreigners. Like other teachers, I was overwhelmed by my new profession and I wanted to impress my students, become their best friend, and be their best teacher ever! Like many other teachers, I was overwhelmingly bemused.
My first two weeks were simply dreadful. I was appalled by the negligence of ten pre-adolescent children, aged ten to fourteen years, and of different nationalities (six were French, one Polish boy, two Italians, and a Libyan girl). The real problem was that they were so de-motivated and lacked interest in everything I tried to do; “we don’t need no education [or English]” is an axiom that would have befitted them perfectly. I remember one day I stormed out of the classroom and went shedding a hurricane of desperate tears in the staffroom (ok, maybe the hurricane is a bit exaggerated).
The assistant head, who barely even knew me (as it was only my third day at the school), listened attentively to what I had to say, and afterwards she caressed me and told me that after all they were just children, and that this was simply a summer job – they will be out and gone with in two weeks! Although it was such a simple thing, her words filled me with courage and gave me the required strength to go back to my classroom (which to my horror and dismay was literally in a state of chaos as two French boys had pulled some kind of tantrum and broke into a fist-fight with one another!).
After calling the leaders for help, I proceeded with my day’s duty, calmly and knowledgeably, perhaps wiser. Towards the end of the two-week course, I had managed to build a good rapport with eight of the ten students (with the exception of the two French boys…who simply remained intolerable!). This shows, moreover, how the assistant head’s positive attitude and her display of genuine affection and concern towards me did truly help.
We should demonstrate the need to adopt positive emotions in order to influence others genuinely, which in turn, these emotions have to be based upon our view of humankind as real and something to be valued.
Martin Luther King once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”. The use of positive emotions is like a journey – one which we need to embark upon, given our lives are heavily based upon our interaction with other people. After all, this is what gives the world its true meaning and makes it a harmonious place to live in.
As you may have noticed, I love quotations…which I why I have to part with a final one, here it goes…
“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.”
Happiness can be, in many ways, a state of the mind. Stay positive. You’ll lead a happier life. That’s guaranteed.