A story on how a soft skill can change the weather.
You live in North London. The alarm clock rings at 5.30. You get up and take a glimpse out of your window. You can’t see much due to the misty atmosphere, but you can definitely tell that it is currently raining- as always. You head to the kitchen, only to find your grumpy flatmate eating what you later find to be the last of your oatmeal. Back to your room; you wear your raincoat and grab an umbrella, thinking about how overcrowded the tube is going to be. Anyways, time to go to work.
On your way to the station, you take the shortcut through Finsbury Park. You aren’t paying much attention until…
…your eyes catch an old lady, having left her bag and umbrella on the bench, only to play with the little ponds that have been created due to the rain. You stop and stare for a while in awe. She seems to be actually having fun, not caring whether she gets wet or muddy. She just hops from one pond to another, laughing and being a child again.
At that moment, it hits you. It is all about the attitude you choose to adopt. It is about being positive through all the negative situations that happen — and are indeed a lot to handle — these days. But it is deeper than “just be happy”. Let us explain.
Positive attitude is a soft skill that refers to the hopeful and confident way of thinking towards life rather than the bad aspects of a situation. Our everyday experiences, such as the view of this sweet old lady, spark our positive emotions that can indeed “forecast and produce growth in competence (e.g., environmental mastery), meaning (e.g., purpose in life), optimism (e.g., pathways thinking), resilience, self-acceptance, positive relationships, as well as physical health. In other words, feeling good does not simply sit side by side with optimal functioning as an indicator of flourishing; feeling good drives optimal function by building the enduring personal resources upon which people draw to navigate life’s journey with greater success” (Frederickson, 2013, p. 816).
A common misconception about having a positive attitude is the expectation to always be happy no matter what. We do not suggest that at all. On the contrary- we suggest focusing on the positive aspects in life, while being well aware that the difficulties are still present. Our mental health is being challenged every single day.
What do we have to lose if we, for once, just try to enhance our positive attitude towards life?
What do we have to lose if we stop for a while and jump in the little ponds, as if we’re children again?