Mack’s Craic

24Dec12

So this is Christmas                                                                                                                 And what have you done                                                                                                         Another year over                                                                                                                      And a new one just begun

– John Lennon and Yoko Ono

It’s that time again when we look back and decide if it was a good year or not. The thing is, no matter how many good things happen over the twelve months, we tend to let a handful of bad things define our whole year, why is that?

I think it’s because we’re fed a mental diet of negative news. They have an awful saying in the newspaper business, “If it bleeds, it leads”. Bad news sells, it also gets higher ratings, but what is news? In his book, ‘It’s All News to Me’, the BBC’s Jeremy Vine defines news as a “disruption to the norm”. Unfortunately we’re not reminded of that when we consume news. The truth is, the things that are being reported are things that don’t normally happen. We never hear of trains running on time, planes landing safely or kids going to school without being shot. We’re bombarded with so many images of death and stories of misery, it’s no wonder we start to think that it is the norm. We’ve been trained to look for the negative.

Times are tough, it’s true and the economy is in bad shape. A lot of us are spending less and some of us lost jobs or major sources of income this year, I know I did. If you could choose at the beginning of the year if you’d like to have a good year or a bad one, who in their right mind would choose to have a bad one? Well at the beginning of the year, you don’t get to choose but at the end of the year you do. Yes, YOU get to decide. Will the negatives define your 2012? I bet for the most part, the negatives are a “disruption to the norm”.

The first century Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus said “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters”. You have very little control of what happens to you but the good news is, you have total control over how you react to it.

Bad things happened to all of us this year but I bet good things happened too. For me they included Julie and I going around the world to celebrate our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, my rock band raising over £20,000 for charity and my radio work being nominated for an international award. What good things happened in your year? What use is there in dwelling on the bad things?

I started this Craic by quoting a song, so I’ll finish with one. The lyrics were written by Johnny Mercer, it was published in 1944. In describing his inspiration for the lyric, Mercer told the Pop Chronicles radio documentary “I went to hear Father Divine and he had a sermon and his subject was ‘you got to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.’ And I said ‘Wow, that’s a colorful phrase!’

You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between

You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium’s
Liable to walk upon the scene

Merry Christmas.

Check out the latest Mack Nuggets at http://www.mackmedia.co.uk .

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