Over the Christmas break I read Ken Dohertys’ autobiography – Life in the Frame. I got to know Ken reasonably well when I worked in the National College of Ireland. He was a great hit with the students, making time to attend award ceremonies and connecting with individuals, never too busy to spend time supporting others, despite a grueling practice regime. You should read the book yourself to get the full story but here’s how it concludes:
“As I think about my future, I find myself reflecting on the past. When I look back, above all I’ve been lucky. Lucky to have been born into a loving family. Lucky to have spent my life playing the game I love. Lucky to have travelled the world and experienced so many diverse and interesting cultures. Lucky to have met a variety of people from differing backgrounds. Lucky to have enjoyed the support of millions of people, most of whom I will never meet. Lucky to have met Sarah and been blessed with Christian. Lucky to have been able to appreciate it all and not take any of it for granted.”
Genuine Belief: When you meet Ken in person you realize that the above is neither Pollyanna nor just some smart way to conclude a book. He really means it. And, I have no doubt that a central reason underpinning his success, is this ‘glass three-quarters full’ outlook. This simple idea of staying positive has a hugely important role to play in terms of our mental health. Wouldn’t it be great if there was some ‘technique’ where we could give ourselves a mental boost, to help overcome the normal speedbumps we encounter?
Double Winner: Ken is the only snooker player ever to have won both the world Amateur and the World Professional Snooker Championships. Now, without a doubt, every professional sportsperson would always wish that they had won more. That’s the way they’re built. But when you meet Ken, you realize that this is someone who’s happy in his own skin. Not trying to impress. No bullshit. Still focused on the future with all of it’s potential, but essentially happy with the journey to date. While there is always an element of the mountain which remains to be conquered, positive people also seem to be able to take a bow for the climb made to date.
Now, not everyone can be a World Champion. But chances are that you have accumulated a good number of successes. Made it through college? Tick. Solid relationship? Tick. Good Job? Tick. And so on. We know the old line: ‘Happiness is wanting what you have, rather than having what you want’. Mental health begins inside our own head. That’s the lesson for all of us. Sometimes I even remember to heed it myself!
PS Latest Joke from the Kids: A random man came up to me the other day and threw a handful of Lego on the ground. I don’t know what to make of it! (hey, lighten up. I’m running out of clean jokes).
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