There is an irritating ad for Jaguar cars running in the UK at present with a voiceover intoning ‘When others started a new box-set, you started your first screen play’ (cue sound of frantic keyboard typing), ‘When others had lie-in, you did morning sprints’ (cue heavy breathing). The punch line is Go getters, time to go get’, meaning you were so industrious during Lockdown and made so much money you can now reward yourself with a luxury car..Now not only is the ad extremely patronising, it’s also demeaning. The implication is that everyone should have been mega-busy when incarcerated by government edict, completely ignoring the fact that not everyone possesses the skill set or ability to work from home, that many people lost their livelihoods from shut-down businesses and entire industries and yet others were juggling trying to live on a reduced income whilst home-schooling their kids and hanging on to their sanity.It also makes me wonder how that screenplay was sold at a time when the film industry had ground to halt!.On the other hand, there were many people who reveled in legitimised lockdown laziness. On pretty much full pay from government grants, they lolled around at home, ordering delivery food and turning into couch potatoes and flabby slobs. Basically, there were genuine Covid fallout victims and then there were the false victim claimants..We can all recognise people who are caught up in bad patterns, bad situations, being in a difficult place and yet they seem to do nothing about it. I have one friend who seems to constantly drift into stressful and painful relationships, as soon as they get out of one agonising liaison, they begin another. I have friends suffering deeply, almost afraid of life, hiding away, scared of interacting, wrapped in their shroud of loneliness, wondering why they are so depressed. I know people who are absolutely breathtaking to look at yet when they look in the mirror they see ugliness and normal-sized people who think they are too fat. I meet loads of people so stressed about money, work and loan repayments to the bank, then there are those consumed with issues of job security and the future. And what of those who are quick to anger – about anything and they don’t even know why. There are people who can’t sleep at night, because they are beset with worry. And most of us are living with some form of addiction, be it food, drugs, alcohol, sex, money, gambling, you name it, though it’s a moot point whether it’s as a coping mechanism or the root cause of our perceived problems..The one thing that is common is that they all have excuses. But before I sound too judgmental (because even as I write this I know I sound patronising and superior) I’m not exempting myself here. Every vice has an excuse ready: - I don't have the determination, I’m too young/old, too fat, ugly, too this too that. We cling to our beliefs about ourselves and can't let go. It’s almost as if we don’t want to change…we stick to what we know. We stay in territory we are familiar with because the thought of change is stressful. It’s also a lot easier to claim that we’re incapable of change – that it’s the way we were born, the circumstances in which we find ourselves, it’s just how it is..So how do you see yourself? Is your glass half-empty or half-full? In other words what sort of a person are you - an eternal optimist or an infernal pessimist? A given situation may be interpreted in different ways depending on one's personality and point of view. Where one person sees opportunity, another sees impending disaster and those perceptions will ultimately affect or even effect the outcome..How you cope in any crisis that affects you has a lot to do with attitude – positive or negative, it’s largely up to us. Time after time we face situations outside of our control and the biggest influence determining the outcome is not the situation itself but how we behave and respond. Often it is attitude that created the situation in the first place. You have a relaxed attitude about diet so you become fat, you don’t study so you fail, you make no effort to make friends so you are lonely..The “I am a victim and not in charge” is a club that I refuse to belong to (but believe you me it’s a daily challenge) – I am not going to expend energy whining about something I can’t do anything about. I want to be positive in tough times. It can be challenging, I know, but you have to rise above it and stay focused. Accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative! When talking to friends and family stop fixating on all the ‘what ifs’. They’re just speculative prophecies of doom which probably will never come to pass. Negative talk will only lead to negative thought and ultimately bring about a negative result. Instead focus on what you can do something about. And at a time when all your alarm bells might be ringing, telling yourself that you’re too old, not smart enough, easily retrench-able, (fill in your own issue here), ignore them and make some valuable investments, in yourself. Put effort into your self development, get face cream for your wrinkles, eat better, take risks, make friends, get a life..It really does not have to be all doom and gloom, it just depends how you look at that glass. A bruised and battered ego may see it as half-empty and about to be drained dry, a more confident one as half-full and ready for a quick top-up. If you’re honest enough to face up to your fears, own up to your addictions and bin the excuses, you might even find your glass is suddenly overflowing.