A Recipe for Positivity

There are certain questions that have puzzled humankind since the dawn of time. Why is the time of day when the traffic moves most slowly called rush hour? Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar? And how, pray tell, do they get those ‘stay off the grass’ signs onto the grass? And then there are the really, really tricky questions like one I was asked recently when I spoke with a group of year 9 students about Year of Kindness: “How do you stay positive?”

Skyping with the students was very interesting. I know their teacher through the Lucca Leadership course that actually spurred me into action on the kindness project. She was keen for me to chat to them about the project and they had a lot of really thoughtful questions for me that made me reflect on the whole process and my reasons behind undertaking this crazy journey. Who was my biggest inspiration for starting the project? (My grandma – the most loving, giving and kindest person I’ve ever known.) What am I going to do after Year of Kindness? (I honestly have no idea – never been a big “planner”.) Is anyone ever ungrateful for a kindness? (Yes, sometimes.) Do I ever question what I’m doing and feel like giving up? (Yes, all the time.) So, how do I stay positive? (Ummm…) It was good fun, although we had a few technological issues and I was also reminded that I’m far better at organising my thoughts into written form than spoken! And it was especially fantastic to hear about the kind things they are doing themselves. Listening to their experiences made me feel like maybe a Kindness Revolution really is possible.

Since my last post I have signed the petition to ban live animal export.
I bought a bunch of flowers for my Dad (he loves flowers and says its not fair they are only given to women. I think most women would attest they don’t get given enough flowers either!) I also picked up rubbish on my block for World Environment Day and bought a copy of The Big Issue.

But it was my chat with the lovely, articulate, curious students that really got me thinking this week. Why am I doing this kindness project if not to create more positivity in my own life and the lives of others? Happiness and positivity have become recurring themes in the Year of Kindness, and I certainly feel I am a lot closer to more consistent positivity and happiness since I started this project. However, as recent posts have shown, I still sometimes take big detours to Negativetown. When it comes right down to it the question of how to stay positive has never, and probably will never, have an easy answer. But next time someone asks me for a recipe for positivity I’m going to defer them to the beautiful Optimists Creed written by Christian D. Larson all the way back in 1912:

Promise Yourself

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living creature you meet.

To give so much time to improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words, but in great deeds.

To live in the faith that the whole world is on your side, so long as you are true to the best that is in you.