Saturday, 2 May 2020

Memento Mori 'Remember You Must Die'

Memento Mori is a Latin term meaning 'remember you must die'.  A Memento Mori is something that serves as a reminder of death and mortality.  Now, I am not trying to be morbid here, I promise, that's the last thing we need right now, but I do think we can use this idea as a motivator to live well.  
Daily Stoic | The Memento Mori medallion – Daily Stoic Store

Historically a skull was used as a symbol of memento mori.  Many people carry a coin of memento mori like the one in the picture to remind them that death is coming to them, using their own mortality as a motivator to live a good life. 

Steve Jobs famously said, when he was close to his death, 

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear or embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.  Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.  You are already naked.  There is no reason not to follow your heart."

This global pandemic, I believe, is making many of us think about our own mortality more than we would like.  However, if you think about it in the wrong way then it will be depressing - yes.  Think about it in the right way and it will help you realise what is really important to you.  It helps you to prioritise and live a life that is meaningful to you.  This pause that we are all experiencing is helping many of us to stop and reflect on our lives.  Is your life going in the direction you want it to? Are you doing what you truly want to do in life or is your current job making you miserable?  So again, this pandemic might help some people out there to choose their own path in life after this ordeal we are facing has past.  It might help some of us remember that time on this earth is short and very precious.  

“Let us prepare our minds as if we’d come to the very end of life. Let us postpone nothing. Let us balance life’s books each day…The one who puts the finishing touches on their life each day is never short of time.”

Don't waste your time on the small insignificant stuff.  Very often people don't think about their own death or, and probably moreso, that of their loved ones, but death gives us meaning and helps us make the most of the precious time we have been given.  Never take for granted the time you all have, for tomorrow is not promised to any of us. 

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Coping with Isolation

We are now 4 weeks into the lock down in the UK due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.  So, how is everyone coping with the isolation? Many of us aren't coping very well at all, others are having the time of their lives.  So, what can we do to improve the situation if we are one of the ones who are struggling?

It is important to remember that there is little you can do about the current situation we all find ourselves in, but there is much you can do to control how you react to it.  These are truly unprecedented times for us all.  We are so used to our freedom. To going to the pub when we feel like it, to catching up with friends over brunch, to popping into see our mums and dad for a brew and a natter, to going to the shops to buy new clothes or furniture for your home or garden, yet here we are, for the first time in most of our lifetimes, unable to do these things we have always taken so much for granted in life. Probably the hardest thing for most of us is the isolation.  We are social beings and are drawn to the people we love and care about.  We need them to boost our mental health and wellbeing yet here we are unable to make contact physically with the people who are dear to us.  

The way I see this time is our lives is I see it as a gift.  An opportunity for life to pause for a little while. A time for us to stop and reflect about life.  It has certainly made many of us notice the things that are really important to us and the things that aren't.  We realise more than ever how important our people are to us - the people who matter in our lives.  We long for the day we can see them again, give them a hug and just be together.  You hear people saying things like, 'I will never take a hug from you for granted again'. Let's hope these things remain true and the impact of isolation doesn't just wear off and we revert back to our old ways. 

We also appreciate our essential workers much more than we probably ever did before.  How often before all this were you grateful to the people working in your supermarkets for stacking the shelves so you can get all your essentials for your weekly shop?  How much have you appreciated in the past the postman continuing to deliver you mail, the bin man continuing to collect your rubbish, the delivery drivers delivering fresh fruit and veg to the shops for you?  All these people out there risking picking up this, sometimes deathly virus, for us - to allow some of the world at least to keep moving.  Hopefully after this there will be no such thing as a low skilled worker.  These are the people coming to our rescue today.

And, of course, all the amazing people working for the NHS and Care System from the doctors, nurses and carers to the porters, receptionists and cleaners.  These people put themselves at the highest risk of contracting this virus and although we know for some they only experience mild symptoms, for others this simply is not the case.  It seems the more ill the patient the higher the strain of the virus they spread, which may be why we are losing some of our front line medical staff at an alarming rate.  Yet, despite having families, hopes, dreams and goals of their own they get up every day and go out to serve the public, strangers who need help at this moment in time.  We should never forget their sacrifice and I hope we never do. 

So, if you are struggling with isolation and have the option to be in the safety of your own home, with your immediate family around you then you are one of the lucky ones.  Feeling grateful to all those people putting themselves out there for us is something we should feel immense gratitude for and if you feel this way, believe me, you will cope with isolation.  This is only taking away our freedom for a very short period of time, we must remember that.  Use the time you have wisely because you are unlikely to have the opportunity again to hit the pause button.  Read, write, watch great films, draw, colour in, clean, organise those cupboards, exercise, talk, sleep, phone old friends, FaceTime your loved ones, enjoy your garden if you are lucky enough to have one - just enjoy the time you have been given here because before you know it we will all be back in the rat race (and complaining about that).  We cannot always control what happens to us but we can control how we respond.

Friday, 3 August 2018

All you need is….hope.

It’s so important to cultivate an attitude that allows you to maintain hope.  Hope can make a great difference to how you respond to problems and difficulties.  The most fundamental aspiration of all human beings is to seek happiness, to overcome suffering.  You may go to bed at night confronted by many problems in your life, but it is hope that motivates you to get out of bed and carry on with your life next morning.

Dalai Lama

Over the past few months of my life I have been reminded of the true power hope can bring to situations of real despair in life.  A doctor looking after my mum in hospital reminded me of the importance and power of hope.  Hope is an energy that you can bring to any given situation in life.  It is a belief that anything is possible.  I truly believe that this one doctor’s attitude and hope that my mum might just defy the odds is what enabled her to recover when no one else thought it was even possible.  Other doctors in the hospital didn’t share this hope.  It really made me think.

You see, this doctor reminded me that being hopeful, not giving up, exploring all the avenues is what makes a doctor a good doctor.  I’m sure you’ve all experienced doctors who are not so good.  This made me think about my own profession, teaching, and how important I feel hope is in education.  The education sector are constantly trying to figure out the ingredients for great teaching.  What is great teaching? What does it look like and how can we teach all our teachers to be great?  Truth is, I’m not sure we can, just like I’m not sure all doctors can be great doctors.  But let’s not give up hope just yet.

I believe the most important thing a teacher can possess is hope.  They must bring that energy to their classrooms every single day and this carries with it a true belief that the children they teach can learn, can achieve and can succeed at school, no matter what their background or starting point.

Hope is defined as, ‘a feeling or expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen’, yet so many teachers lack this hope and expectation for their students. Surely it couldn’t be that simple, could it?  That if our teachers had a true belief and expectation that the children they teach can achieve and hold a true desire to make that happen this alone would make the difference.  As a parent I hope my children are taught by hopeful teachers.  Teachers who find ways around the many barriers in their way to learning and achievement.  A teacher who will never give up on them and will explore all the avenues to achievement possible no matter what their ability level might tell them on paper. That is what I want for my children and what I believe the parents of the children I teach would want too. 

In my class all my students are taught to A* standard.  If a student wants to achieve an A* they will have to work damn hard to get it but I will show them how, that’s my job as a teacher.  For some students the path to A* is pretty straight forward – these tend to be the students who have a lot of self-control and who are willing to work hard.  For other students the road to A* is a very rocky one that challenges them every step of the way.  The growth you witness in a student who has a target grade of a C yet defies the odds and goes on to achieve an A* is remarkable and a true privilege to be part of.  Yes, I taught them the content, showed them how to answer exam questions and showed them ways to revise and learn but the most important thing I brought to the table that made the real difference to them is hope.  I expected them to do it and shared this expectation with them every day – I showed them I believed in them and this desire and expectation lead me into finding ways to help them achieve the A*. For other students in the class who may not set their sights so high they too improve and achieve above their target grades as a result of this expectation to succeed. 

Having hope provides my students with the will they need to achieve their goal and I show them the different routes to achieving it. A teacher who has hope in her students helps the students approach problems and barriers with the right mindset to overcome the barriers in their way.  You see hope provides a motivation and drive in the brain.  Hope is where emotions follow cognition not the other way around.  Hope often leads to goals and hopeful individuals actively engaged in the process of improvement, development and learning.  They find ways to meet their goals and most importantly, they ensure they stay on track by constantly monitoring their progress.  That is a lot of energy that ultimately leads to success. There is a plethora of research evidence that links goal setting to success in life from sport to academic achievement.

In one study conducted over 6 years researchers were interested in the relationship between hope and academic achievement. They found high hope students achieved more academically than their low hope counterparts and many of these high hope students had lower entrance exam scores at the start of the study.  In my experience though teachers can make their students more hopeful.  If you can make your students believe that you believe in them and that they have what it takes to be successful you will see these young people transform before your eyes.  Yes, we know ability is important but to be successful it takes much more than just ability – it is something else deep inside an individual that drives them to succeed.  Often the hopeful student will use this motivation drive they have within themselves to improve their ability and when they see success every time they get an essay returned to them or a test score back where they have improved this just fuels their drive and sometimes makes them push themselves even more.

So maybe, just maybe, we can cultivate good teachers just by helping them realise the importance of hope and the positive energy that brings to the classroom. Don’t be afraid to be hopeful for your students and use this positive energy in your classroom daily to help your student realise their potential and even exceed it.   The real question for all of you teachers out there is what do you want to be?  A teacher or a good teacher? 




Thursday, 4 January 2018

Why New Year’s Resolutions are so important

I love this time of year, probably more than any other if I am honest.  I love that build up to Christmas where I spend a lot of my time reflecting on my year and appreciating all the great things that happened in my life.  I then turn my attention to the next year, to the future.  I am a big believer in personal growth.  I believe completely in always striving to improve myself and learn from the experiences I have in life.  2017 has been a good year, in fact it has been a great year. We moved into our new home in March, a home which we love and we still can’t quite believe that it is ours, I celebrated 40 years of existence and my family and I flew to New York to celebrate, nowhere better really to celebrate than the Big Apple.  My youngest had her First Holy Communion, a lovely family celebration and an opportunity for us all to get together again and my eldest started high school.  We had a lot to be thankful for.  My new year’s resolutions tend not to be about setting goals like going on a diet, going to the gym more or drinking less.  I like to set New Year resolutions more about how I choose to live my life.  Like improving how I cope with adversity and situations in my life that are out of my control by changing the way I react to them. 

I think this is where a lot of people go wrong.  I know lots of people who hate making resolutions and avoid it at all costs but I think it gives us a wonderful opportunity to reflect, refocus and improve.  Ask yourself what do you want from your life this year?  How could your life be better and what could you do to make it better?  This might just be something as simple as stopping complaining about your job.  If you hate your job that much that all you do is complain about it, maybe it is time to go and get a new job.  Constant complaining can be dangerous to our mental health and that of others and your complaining impacts other people more than you realise.  According to a research study from Stanford University exposure to negativity peels back neurons in your hippocampus which is the part of the brain responsible for problem solving and cognitive functioning.  What tends to happen is that complaining becomes a habit.  People vent their frustrations onto others to make themselves feel better but instead they should be looking for solutions if there is something you are not happy with.  We have to stop and consider the effect complaining has on our health.  Venting floods our bloodstream with the stress hormone cortisol and each time we tell someone about our frustrations we end up 10-12 times more aggravated. 

So, if you reflect on last year and find that complaining became a habit for you then just make that one change in your life and notice the positive impact it has on so many aspects of your life.  Pay attention to the difference and how it makes you feel.  Write it down even to remind yourself in case you slip back into your old habits. 

One of the best changes I made to my life was in 2011 when I started keeping a gratitude journal.  I remember the day I bought it.  I was in Bristol attending the Positive Psychology Masterclass with Bridget Greenville Cleave and Miriam Akhtar, two positive psychology experts.  They introduced me to the idea of keeping a gratitude journal and I went and bought myself one that day.  I sat at my hotel window and wrote in it for the very first time about the three things I was grateful for that day. I loved it and I am now on gratitude journal number 2 and would not be without it.  If you are struggling to find a New Year’s resolution for you then maybe this is the one.  I cannot begin to explain to you the benefits it has made to my life, to my thinking, my happiness and my health.  Living a life of gratitude enables you to really focus on and see the good things in life rather than the bad.  It helps me to stop and savour things and really appreciate moments that too often would just pass me by.  I worry less and enjoy everything more.  So, if you don’t have a resolution I recommended a gratitude journal.

Another resolution that will make your life better is mindfulness.  Not necessarily meditation but just learning how to be mindful will enable you to savour the simple things in life and it somehow enables time to move slower because you pay attention to things.  Things like having a shower, driving to work, eating your dinner, reading your book.  If you pay attention in the moment you enjoy things so much more.  I learned this in 2014 when I was studying my MSc in Applied Positive Psychology at the University of East London.  As part of the course I needed to try out 3 different positive psychology interventions and document my experience of them.  One I tried was the Headspace App.  You can download it on your phone and it offers ten free take ten sessions of mindfulness meditation which you are guided through.  If I am honest this scared me.  I have never been a big fan of meditation and this intervention pushed me right out my comfort zone.   If you don’t know anything about mindfulness meditation, put simply, it is when you sit up straight on a chair and pay attention to your body, how it feels, smells around you, noises you may be able to hear, you might count your breath or do a body scan.  By day 6 I was starting to feel the benefit.  I started to pay more attention to little things in my day that I would normally just do.  On my drive to work I used to spend too much of it thinking about the day ahead (and how much work I had to do usually) and before I knew it that ball of stress had built up in my stomach by the time I arrived at work.  Instead I started mindful driving and paid attention to the drive, my hands on the steering wheel, the noise of the indicator, what I could see out the window etc. and I found this made for a much nicer drive to work and me feeling much better by the time I got there.  As a result I found myself to be more productive. 

I only did the take ten once (ten minutes of mindfulness meditation over ten consecutive days) but this was enough to have an impact on my life since then.  It has helped me particularly in my job as an Assistant Head teacher when I deliver whole year group assemblies.  So often I used to get distracted when I gave assemblies, I was too busy focusing on the kid at the back who had fallen asleep or the one who looked like they were whispering to their mate.  I spent too much of my time during assemblies focusing on what they (the audience) were thinking about me rather than focusing on the content and the message I was actually trying to get across to them.  Mindfulness changed that and now I love giving assemblies and having the opportunity to give key messages to my students that I know will help them flourish in life.  Assemblies are now a much more enjoyable experience and the delivery is much better when I focus on the topic. 

New Year resolutions are linked to Hope Theory which can be divided into 4 subcategories:

1.       Goals provide people with direction and hopeful thinking and a belief that you can actually reach your desired endpoint. 

2.       Pathway thoughts refers to the thinking we choose that leads to us achieving the desired goals and our belief in our ability to do so (Snyder, 2000).

3.       Agency thoughts refers to our motivation to actually get up and act. 

4.       Barriers refers to the inevitable things that may block our way in the pursuit of a goal – we have a choice.  Either we give up (which too many of us do) or we utilise our pathway thoughts to create new routes to our desired goal.

Accept there will be barriers but aim to see these barriers as challenges and find another way to reach your goal.  It doesn’t have to be a big thing, it could be something small but maybe a new year’s resolution that will help you be a better you is the right place to start.  Perhaps a New Year resolution that will make you feel happier and more present in the moment is perfect for you.  I was sceptical when I tried some of them but I can honestly say I am so glad I did.  So that is three suggestions for your New Year’s Resolutions:  stop complaining (change a bad habit), start a gratitude journal and be more mindful.  Hope this helps some of you set some great goals for 2018 and make life better for you and those around you.

Katie Small

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Inside Out - The reason we need all our emotions.

I took my two children to see Inside Out on Friday night, the latest Pixar movie. Pete Docter's film tells the story of 11 year old Riley who is an only child living with a mum and dad who love her more than anything else in the whole world.  Riley's 11 years on the planet has mainly happy, precious memories of fun times spent with family and friends.  Riley loves Ice Hockey and plays in a team and spends lots of time skating on the ice with her mum and dad.  The amazing thing about this film is that it shows us the inside workings of Riley's mind and shows how all the emotions work to help her make the right decisions.  I love Joy voiced by Amy Poehler -she is the happy emotion, the optimistic one who always, no matter what tries to look on the bright side of life.  She constantly battles with the other emotions to ensure happiness always wins through and most of the time, until Riley moved that is, she succeeds.  The other emotions, fear, anger, disgust and sadness were always in Joy's shadow, she worked hard daily to ensure all the memories Riley banked each day had a bright yellow glow. 

What I loved about this film is that it embraces our emotions and teaches children (not to mention adults) how important our emotions are in our lives.  It also helps us see how we can change the emotional content of our mind by being more mindful about how we feel, simply by paying more attention.  When Riley moved to San Francisco her world turned upside down.   Her home was no longer warm and welcoming, her father was stressed at work leaving less time to spend with her and school just wasn't the same.  She had no friends and even lost her temper when she tried out for the ice hockey team.  Riley was going through a bad stage in her life and like most children struggled (emotionally) to deal with it.  Inside her mind we witnessed her core memories starting to fall apart.  Riley had five core memories, goofy island (where she played and was silly with her mum and dad), family island, friendship island, hockey island and honesty island.  These were the 5 most important things in Riley's life and the things she held dear to her at all times.  However, when life didn't go the way she wanted it to go her core islands were destroyed one by one.

As a teacher this film is an exciting educational tool to help children understand how important it is to build core beliefs and find out what is important to them and encourage them to ensure they keep them safe and secure.  We all have core memories - the things in life that are more important to you than anything else.  We have to work hard to treasure and protect them.  What I loved most about the film is that Joy didn't save the day, sadness did.  It showed us, as well as Joy, that although happiness is a vital ingredient for a good life we also need our other emotions.  They need to work together as a team to help us get the balance right.  Sometimes the anger we feel reminds us what is really important to us and helps us make positive changes in our lives which will, over time, make us much happier.  Sometimes fear is needed to keep us safe.  Sometimes fear can motivate us and can give us a great sense of achievement because even though we were scared we carried on regardless.  Sometimes periods of sadness brings us closer to the people we love, as it did in Riley's case.  Sadness can help us and lead us down a much happier path if we can just learn to embrace it. 

I like to call it riding the wave.  At 11 I saw my dad take a stroke in front of me, something I will never forget.  My teenage years were the hardest years of my life so far nursing my dad through 10 years of illness so you see I understand the importance of riding the waves and accepting that life isn't always great and that is ok.  You have to take the highs with the lows but you can learn how to cope with the lows better.  You can remind yourself that it is not always going to be this way, that things will get better and the good times will always far outweigh the bad so you always have lots to look forward to.  I don't believe in helplessness.  We all have the responsibility to make our lives better every day and making sure your little ball of optimism in your head can be heard will make all the difference. 

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Do you believe in luck?

I have just started the 'Go Luck Yourself' course at Buck's New University (online) and session 1 has got me thinking about luck.  I am a big believer in luck and completely believe if you think you are lucky then you are.  Just by thinking you are lucky you attract and notice things that you may have ignored before.  It's like the change in your mindset has attracted more luck in your life not from some strange external force but instead because you are opened to the opportunities placed in front of you and more willing to grab them with both hands.  I have read numerous self help books from Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich to Normal Vincent Peale's The Power of Positive Thinking and all these great thinkers say the same thing, providing us with the same message.  You have to believe you are lucky to actually be lucky.  Likewise, if you consider yourself unlucky you will be because your thinking makes it so.  

A large part of positive psychology is gratitude and I have learned more and more the deep connection between gratitude and luck.  People who are grateful consider themselves and experiences to be lucky - why? Simple, they are grateful even when things don't go their way.  For example, when my mum rang from Scotland to tell me my aunt was in hospital I went to bed that night and thought how grateful I was that she was safe and in the best possible place with doctors and nurses to look after her and make sure she got better.  I remember thinking how lucky we are to live in a country with a national health service yet other people may have considered this news as bad news or bad luck.  For me this is an exciting concept that simply by changing the way we think about things allows us to feel better not only about the situation but also about ourselves.  

I read a wonderful book a number of years ago by Bill Cullen called, 'Golden Apples'.  In it he wrote a lot about luck and told his readers that he was born in a caul.  This is when a baby is born inside the amniotic sack which remains intact after birth.  Children born in a 'caul' are considered worldwide to be lucky since this occurrence happens less than one in every one thousand births therefore these children are considered rare, special and forever protected.  Tails of children being born in a caul have appeared in literature throughout the years dating right back to the bible.  David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens, has his caul auctioned off as a talisman to protect against drowning.  Bill Cullen's caul was sold to fisherman who believed if they carried the caul in their boat they would never drown.  However, another thing Bill Cullen said was that from the minute he was born he was told constantly by his parents and relatives that he was lucky.  It didn't take long for him to believe it and today he continues to consider himself lucky because of this.  Nevertheless we must consider is he really lucky because he was born in a caul or is Bill lucky because he was told he was lucky.  Is it a self fulfilling prophecy.

Therefore,  the moral of the story is it seems we have two choices, either we consider ourselves to be lucky or unlucky.  I know which one I choose and as a parent I tell my children every day they are lucky so that they too will develop the luck mindset and be open to the opportunities placed in front of them every day.  Derran Brown aired a programme a few years ago about luck and he conducted an experiment in a little village.  He placed a statue of a dog in the local park and made up a story informing locals that if you pat the dog it will bring you luck. Surprisingly, after patting the dog nearly everyone in the village reported something they would consider to be lucky happening to them as a result. Derron Brown also focused on a butcher in the village who had always considered himself to be unlucky.  He placed a £50 on the floor outside his shop one morning which the butcher completely missed. He had a survey take place outside his shop where all you had to do was answer one question and you would win £50 if you answered it correctly - he choose not to participate, what was the question?  Name three cuts of beef, a guaranteed £50 for the butcher but he didn't take the opportunity.  

Grasp the opportunities you have before you and always consider yourself to be lucky.  The positive effect this will have on your life will be amazing and before long you will feel luckier and good things will come your way.

Monday, 8 September 2014

The benefits on MAPP

Having just completed my Masters in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) I wanted to take time to reflect on my MAPP experience.  Studying MAPP was one of my ambitions for a long time and now that I have completed the course I feel relieved and proud of my achievements.  Many students believe to be part of a MAPP group is very very special.  I'm not sure if that is because there are so few institutions currently offering this qualification or whether the content of the course and the people it attracts is special in itself?  I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to study MAPP at the University of East London and if you are reading this and considering this as an option I'd highly recommend it.  For the past two years I have certainly been on a journey and it is very true what they say, once you push yourself outside your comfort zone there is no going back.  You are forever changed and hopefully for the better, that's certainly been the case for me.

I have been an optimist all my life and at the age of 14 my mum bought me a positive thinking poster for my bedroom wall.  Since then I developed a passion for this way of life and could see the benefits it would bring to my life and wanted to tell other people about it so much.  Maybe that is why I became a teacher.  Unlike many other MAPPsters I love self help books and have read everything from Napolean Hill's 'Think and Grow Rich' to Rhonda Byrne's 'The Secret'.  This passion for the self help movement pushed me closer towards my MAPP journey and and although many will disagree with me, I see positive psychology in so many of the books I have read over the years, minus the empirical evidence.  Nevertheless, what self help books do for me is that the messages motivate me, inspire me and fill me with hope for the future - how could that possibly be a bad thing?  The MAPP, however, enabled me to understand the world of research so much more and respect the positive psychology researchers out there desperately trying to show the world that people should flourish in life and strive daily towards a life worth living.

The MAPP has developed me both personally and professionally and has added greatly to my life and work.  I practice gratitude on a daily basis and it is true what they say, it does make you happier, it does make you notice the good more than the bad.  Some simple ways to incorporate it into your life today is by keeping a gratitude journal and writing down your three best things once a week.  I ask my children every night before they go to sleep their three best things about the day and it is a lovely way to end a busy day - actually this is my favourite time of the day.  I have also tried mindfulness meditation using headspace and really enjoyed this new experience in my life, although I still struggle to find a spare ten minutes in my day but at least I'm trying.  I teach children the importance of finding their strengths and using them every day and the reciprocal joy random acts of kindness can bring to life.  Positive psychology enables people to take control of their life, to choose happiness rather than allowing life to just happen to them.  There are no victims with positive psychology and that is what I like about it.  It teaches you how to be resilient, and cope with adversity to make it better not only for you but also for those around you.

MAPP has given me so much but most importantly I have met some amazing people. The conversations over coffee breaks, in the Indian restaurant on a Friday night and best of all in the pub is where most of my learning took place.  So now that one journey is over I look forward to the next - life after MAPP and hope that I can add to world of positive psychology in education and enable our children to learn the power of their minds in achieving success in their lives and improving their wellbeing.