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Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Mirna van Wyk talks about turning a negative into a positive.

Mirna van Wyk

Mirna is an educational psychologist from Stellenbosch. She taught at several schools, amongst others Stellenbosch High School, Bloemhof Girls’ High and Jan Kriel School for learners with barriers to learning. She is a mother, loves art, the ocean and children.

Negative to Positive

Some evenings when I take our dog for a walk I take a R10 along for the paper or an ice-cream. Last week, when it was exceptionally hot I arrived at the little café and took out the R10 note. Whoops. No R10 note.

I start searching diligently—another pocket, the cuff of my jeans, etc. I am castigating myself for being so careless. I could have bought the paper and an ice-cream!

Then I thought, “Mirna, this is a waste of good time and energy. No use wasting energy on a situation you have no control over, so make this an enjoyable, entertaining walk. Rather concentrate on making this a memorable moment instead.”


 So, I looked, really looked at my surroundings. I noticed some beautiful hedges full of bougainvilleas in bloom that I had ignored previously. I spent some time people-watching in the park. I thought about my day and the children, teachers and parents that I worked with. The best thought I had, however, was when it occurred to me that because I walk through two parks—probably some kid or needy person would find that R10. How thrilled and excited they would be.

I arrived back home optimistic about the world in general - I contributed a R10 note to somebody’s life.

In I went, and there on the floor was the R10 note—I almost—almost—went outside and dropped it on the ground.

Our time in life is defined by what we feel and think about something, not so much by what may have really happened. I encourage parents everywhere to help your children turn the negative into a positive—make a gift from the adversity that occurs for your child on the playground, in the hallways, or even in the classroom.

Natalie du Toit (national swimming champion) lived out this theory. When she lost one of her legs in an accident, she was faced with a choice: become an invalid or rise above the negative circumstances life dealt her. Because of her positive attitude, tenacity and true grit she has become an international icon of hope, inspiring millions.

The early golf balls were smooth. Then as they were used they developed rough spots and small tears in the material.

It was discovered that playing with the balls with rough spots produced greater distance and better accuracy. Now all golf balls have at least 432 dimples.

Remember, then, that when a rough spot happens to you or to your children, turn it into a dimple.

The option to stay focusing on the negative: blaming the past, blaming fate, blaming this, blaming that enslaves you eternally in despair--not a state that allows you to rise above circumstance to experience peace and happiness. By focusing on the positive you cannot become a victim--you end up a survivor.

You are welcome to comment or send questions to her via this blog.

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