“Keep On Smiling.”; an easy piece of advice to follow when life is easy to handle. But is it possible to keep a grin plastered when school is chaotic, when family is going bonkers, and when nothing seems to be going right? I believed positivity was impossible for any realistic person, until I met a Sensible Smiler that flipped my frown upside down.
“The Bell is about to go, so everyone pass your tests forward.” For most of my school, this bell marked the end of one class and the start of another. But for me, and thirty other unlucky souls sharing my fate, that ringing was a death knell. We had just been defeated by one of our exams, and we left that classroom dispirited and defeated.
“I have never felt so horribly about a test before” I said to some of my friends. I was surrounded by phrases like, “Yeah, that was ridiculously hard,” and “I hope this test isn’t TOO important to my overall grade,” in agreement with my hopelessness. It was safe to say that we, who had entered our classroom with a healthily-inflated sense of confidence left class thoroughly deflated.
Throughout the rest of my day, I tried to make that exam seem less monstrous than it was. It was not too bad. And I’m sure I got enough right to get a decent grade on the exam. But my confidence was anchored by a gnawing feeling of gloom all day long. I slid on my red aviator sunglasses in an effort to hide my worry, and tried to survive to the end of my day.
As I was walking to the day’s final class, I saw one of my friends who had also endured that painful exam, the Sensible Smiler, doing what was she did best. That smile, one I had scarcely seen on any other of my classmates’ faces, surprised me. I curiously thought, Why on earth is there such a big smile on this kid’s face?
My curiosity got the best of me. “Hey, SS, how’s your day been?”
“It’s been really good!” SS responded.” I’m so glad the day is almost over. Did you want to go get ice cream with me and some friends after school?”
Ice cream? I thought with disbelief. Did SS even come to the depressing exam in class today? “I would, but I’m really bummed about today’s test, and I think I should go home.”
A shadow of worry covered SS’s face (FINALLY!). “Oh yeah, that exam was really tough. I think I might have failed it.”
“Aren’t you worried?” I asked her expectantly.
“Yes, I am. But I think my grade in that class will be OK. Besides, later this semester I have some chances to boost my grade. So, do you want to get some ice cream?”
I was shocked at how SS had flipped such a negative situation into such a positive light. By blending realism with optimism, SS had avoided having my gloomy day. Sensibly smiling, my friend had managed to turn a painful testing experience into a trip to get ice cream.
Lesson Learned: Positivity is not just for people who are already happy, so don’t write it off as such. Try to look for the bright side of difficult experiences (I’m sure there will always be one.) Remember that if life gives you hard exams, make ice cream trips of them J.
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Winston Churchill