So it’s the 20 December and I am thinking about those fantastic, though one could argue, a wee cheesy song lyrics: “You’ve gotta accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative. Latch on to the affirmative. Don’t mess with Mister In-Between”.
This week a number of newspapers chose to dedicate their back pages yet again to the wonder and awe-inspiring story that was and is The Olympics. This time, however, the angle they chose was all about ignoring the teachings of that rather marvellous, joyous and mildly Stilton-like song. An 11% increase in sports funding following our incredible summer felt decidedly meagre when some of our UK press got hold of the story. Yes, some sports unfortunately lost some funding but let’s look at the stats: 5 had funding reduced whilst 18 increased. Now I have never claimed to be much of a mathematician (a superb triple-word scrabble square user, yes) but even I can see that an 11% overall increase and 18 sports’ fundings augmented versus 5 reduced equals a positive story?!
This then leads me onto thinking that at least it could have been worse … these are the same newspapers that publish articles written by journalists concerned about what will happen if competition is irradicated from our next generation’s education; worried that the future of England won’t be able to cope with the concept of competition, as schools are advised to not allow “winning” or “losing” as everyone’s a winner, and therefore when we hit the real world it’s a big surprise that we have to compete for jobs etc. So, thank Santa for small mercies and all that … at least we didn’t have a wishy washy (yes, the panto references are coming in) UK press that doesn’t dare show opinion (ok, so that’s never going to happen) but why is its mood sometimes so unreliable? It’s an absolute mystery as to know on which side of the bed it has fallen out of … Are today’s stories going to accentuate the positive or the negative?
Now please get me right; I am extremely pro journalism that digs and refuses to accept the gilding of PR and spin that can often surround stories everyday, it’s just that occasionally I do wonder at the pessimism that clouds us all from time to time, and how easy it is to get caught up in. Yesterday at a fascinating innovation forum I attended, I saw powerful people choosing to see their competition’s ideas as inspiring instead of belittling them and disregarding them through ignorance and pride. It was wonderful to see Industry saying “I wish I had thought of that; what can we do to top this?” instead of the negative “Well that won’t work for us so what’s the point, let’s just keep going the way we’re going and find fault in everyone else to make ourselves look better” – or something to that effect!
Ying needs yang, ping needs pong, win needs lose and Scrooge needs Cratchit – oh I just can’t resist … this year we’ve all had our ups and our downs; our boxing budget and our badminton budget but let’s sing that song (out loud or in our head – dependent upon your eccentricity and skill) and choose the affirmative to define who we are and how we do it. And let’s hope the time before the first journalist siting the number 13 in our new year as an excuse for seeing the ‘unlucky’ negative side of a story is a long and happy one.
Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year everyone!