In one of my Awards Night addresses last year I referred to the concept of gratitude and suggested it should replace entitlement as a pervading sentiment held by our young people. I said “We cannot allow our young people to grow up with a sense of entitlement….about anything. It is an attitude which is becoming pervasive in many areas of our society but it is not the reality and will bring people unstuck. If we, and they, can replace entitlement with gratitude and understand the impact we can bring to those around us with this mindset, our future world will be a more forgiving and productive place.”
I accept that such grandiose statements can go in one ear and out the other at these events, such is the focus on either the prize-winners or the proximity to a few weeks of uninterrupted sleeping, surfing or anything with a non-school focus. However, the notion of being grateful for what you have, and acknowledging the people who have assisted you along the way, is part of a growth mindset that contributes to a more positive perspective on all that happens in one’s life.
Last week, our Head of HPE, Mr Scott Kennedy, shared with me a story surrounding the recent Superbowl final and the comments made by one of the all-time greats of that sport, Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots.
Following his team’s defeat in the final, Tom Brady posted a message to the world on Instagram, and the key word was “gratitude.”
Here’s what he said in 200 words: “It has taken me a few days to reflect on our Superbowl loss as well as the great season our team had. There are many emotions when you come up short of your goal. And they are all part of learning and growing in this journey of life. Learning turns everything into a positive. And the number one feeling I have had the past 4 days is gratitude. Gratitude to my teammates for the incredible effort given all season regardless of the challenges we faced.
Gratitude toward my coaches for the effort and sacrifice they make to put us players in the best position to win.
Gratitude to the New England Patriots organization for supporting us on our very challenging and difficult journey.
Gratitude to the Philadelphia Eagles team and organization for bringing out the best in us and being gracious winners (as well as congratulations on winning the championship)
Gratitude toward our fans who showed up every week to cheer us on and commit their time and energy and love and support to what our goals are.
And gratitude to my family and friends who continue to love and support my dreams.
Thank you all. I love you all.”
On occasions, elite level sportsmen and sportswomen are not known for their deep thinking especially, around their feelings. They can be hard-nosed, ultra-competitive with a single-minded focus. To read this perspective from one of the legends of the sport is one worth acknowledging.
To remember with gratitude, the sacrifices, the support, the love and encouragement of those around you – which enable you to be where you are and experience all that you do – is a positive outlook to take. While the pain associated with a loss on the sports field, an opportunity missed or coping with a decision that did not go your way can be acute, to step back and reflect on the positives can be good for our mental health as well as enable us to ‘move on’ to the next challenge, the next opportunity, the next situation.
Stuart Meade | Principal