Saturday, December 01, 2012

Hard Optimism by Price Pritchett (I) Counting my Blessings - a Reflection

"Hard optimism represents a disciplined, deliberate way of thinking about whatever life throws at us. It's about focusing on blessings rather than bad things... emphasizing opportunities instead of obstacles... explaining events to ourselves in a way that enhances performance and improves our quality of life." (p11)

True, indeed, by looking out and counting blessings, sometimes we are surprised to find there are so many good things (especially people around us) bestowed upon us! Without them, we might not even be able to get to the present stage (I won't say "state", as it's subjective).

In the recent years, when I do my work review with my reporting officers, I never forget to give credit to people around me...  the fact that what I have achieved to-date is made possible because of all the blessings that I can count on. My bosses are important, though I might not have conveyed my thanks and appreciation to them verbally. Some may see from another perspective that we are working 'for' the organisation and therefore it's an expectation that the bosses have to support what we do to fulfill what's defined in our job scope. For those who have been at work long enough (not necessary in education, but in any other business), we know that it's not always the case. Ironically, if we have stretch our 'antenna' far enough, we would have heard that there were instances where people having a hard time to get their work done because the lack of support. Ironical? Well, it happened, and it happens elsewhere too! So, we should not take for granted about the support; although sometimes we do experience frustration when we could not understand the rationale of some actions that go against what we do. On the other hand, do we trust our bosses? It's an important question to ourselves. I think it makes a difference when we attempt to rationalise some decisions or actions when we are not told the "why"s. Of course, "trust" cannot be taken for granted. It's not a given. It's earned. I believe bosses know this well.

In an organisation, there's no such thing as "a one-man show", no matter how capable one is. In fact, how capable one is does not depend solely on the expertise/ skills one has, but how he/ she works with others, or get others to work(?) (hm...). Again, one may argue that since people are assigned to the team, it means they are expected to 'work'. Now it's the effort that counts, of course, that goes back to one's attitude! That 'little difference' makes a huge difference! It's just like my encounter with two persons who were given the role of coordinators. One was full of initiative, anticipated and sought to find out what she did not know; and to ask what she did not even know. Another simply served as a messenger and thought that she had done a perfect job. Attitude counts! Be it the first or the second coordinator, I still thank them for the work they did (though it's "for" the organisation) and different degree of effectiveness; as I might end up having someone whom I need to 'coordinate' on-behalf. Well, such human being exists! So, count my blessings! Of course, I'm more thankful to the one who was exercise great initiative! So, no matter big or small kind of support, count our blessing that someone has done the work instead of having them falling back onto our laps!
So, to my fellow colleagues... thanks for all the work carried out! You may think you are just doing your job, but to me, it matters!

Success is not merely a "within organisation" matter. Undeniably, what's available within the organisation matters a lot; in my case, the external entities are very important and critical in order for the "in-house" projects to take place smoothly. Without the support from my fellow colleagues in ETD, ITB and IDA, life would have been many many more times challenging. Much appreciation to the timely advices and efforts they put into the project; and also their understanding and willingness to stand in sometimes. Well, similar to the scenario of the "Coordinator" described in the earlier paragraph. These 'external' parties were not obliged to put in extra effort beyond what's written (at the surface) of their job scope - to "support" the school! There are varying degree and level of support! And quality matters! Fortunately or unfortunately, I am able to tell and feel this difference strongly because I "worked with" officers from these agencies in my past context and had experiences that were totally different. Again, one may argue that these people have their own KPIs; however, they could just 'report' instead of coming forward at their own course and go an extra mile! These are definitely blessings, especially when they are beyond our circle of influence or control. These are  blessings that I would not have dreamt of when started the journey :) In the same note, appreciate the friendship that grows along the way, too!

Well, well... blessings are not only those we can find at work... friends around - be it their presence are always felt or only 'appear' once in a blue moon. I guess this is something that we all agree. And of course, count the blessings each day when we step into our house! How often, we forget about these people and take them for granted.

To look around... yes, abundance of blessings to count on :)

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