Attitude Check

Energy flows where attention goes, is a principle of Huna.  It means that whatever we focus on we create.

Every spring, facing the end of my current teaching contract, I feel the tug of anxiety in the pit of my stomach.  I begin to doubt myself, and see only the impossibilities around me.  I wonder what will happen to me if they don’t hire me back, and I look at the colleagues who will be competing against me for jobs, and grow increasingly certain that I do not stand a chance.

“It doesn’t look good for next year,”  I recently expressed to a colleague.

“Hard to tell,”  she responded.  “Things turn around.”

I went on to explain to her why I didn’t think that would happen this year, and convinced her that I may have a point. We both parted in gloom.  Misery is contagious.

I began to read negatives into conversations, and convinced myself that I was neither valued nor wanted.  Then I decided to change my attitude and act as if I was appreciated and valued.

And guess what?

People started to tell me how appreciated I am, and many expressed hope that I will be able to continue in my job. I feel valued, and for the past two days, have felt a release in the tension.

Attitude is everything.  Gratitude is key.

Humility vs Ego

“How did you do on that calculus exam?”  A tall brunette pulled a chair up to the table, directly across from me.   The cafeteria was bustling with the usual suspects.

I shrugged. “Okay.”  I tried to keep my voice nonchalant.

“Man, that was brutal.  Who needs calculus anyways?” The blonde who joined us was slender, and preppy.  I noted that several boys watched as she approached and then mumbled approvingly amongst themselves.

“I need to study more,” another classmate complained, as she dumped a pile of texts on the table.  “I just don’t seem to be able to grasp the concepts.”

“Yeah, well someone in our class does.  I heard one person scored 100%.”  Our lunch group was growing in numbers.

“No way!  That’s not possible.”  A loud rumble of surprise and disapproval erupted around the table.

I kept quiet.

Then Izzy arrived.  Izzy was one of my closest friends, and also my seat mate in math class.  She knew the truth.

“Congratulations!” she oozed, before I could stop her.  “Another 100%!”

“What?”  The brunette across the table from me blurted.  “You’re the one who got perfect?!  How’s that possible?”

All eyes were on me.

“No offense, or anything, but you’re not all that bright.”  She had always proclaimed to be the smart one, and I can see that this revelation was making her truly uncomfortable.

“Izzy’s joking,”  the blonde proclaimed.  “If you didn’t ace it, then there’s no way she did.”

“Well, she did!” Izzy responded.  “She’s smarter than you think.”

“I don’t get it.”  the brunette questioned.  “If you’re so smart, why do you act so dumb?”

She had a point.  I’d learned to hide my intelligence after years of bullying and beatings.  But why act so dumb?

It was a question I would ponder for years to come.  Not bragging about my accomplishments felt right, but my motivation for doing so was not so admirable.

How do we balance our very human need for acknowledgment with a desire to be humble?