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‘Miriam is quick in the centre but loses heart. Joyce understands the game but could move a little quicker; Audrey places herself well but lacks height.’ 

I recently came across this extract from the sports notes section of the annual magazine from a girl’s school in the 1930s.[1]

Undoubtedly, for many of us, comments like this would sound completely foreign in the context of schools and workplaces as modern sentiment has steered us towards prolific positivity and away from the unfiltered responses of previous decades. Especially in schools, to speak of any student’s performance and potential in any way other than glowing is unacceptable in a modern context. 

We have all heard the painful clichés at the business conferences and read them in the self-help books – ‘the glass is half-full’, ‘look for the silver lining’. The sentiment of optimism is not one we are unfamiliar with in our modern world of self-help. Despite this, 1 in 7 Australians will experience depression in their lifetime and 1 in 4 will experience anxiety. 1 in 7 young people experience a mental health condition in a year.[1] The popular sentiment of optimism has not seemed to translate into a happier or more fulfilled society.