Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

Here’s another in the highly entertaining series of articles written for the BBC by Lucy Kellaway of the Financial Times. This time she turns her attention to whether it’s better to be an optimist or a pessimist in business.

Lucy Kellaway for BBC: Pessimism is Good for Business

For as long as I can remember, pessimism has been taboo in the educational arena. In the maths classroom or on the basketball court, children the world over are exhorted to ‘think positive’, ‘believe you can’ and ‘go for it’.

If Kellaway is right, then we might see a rather more balanced perspective in the future that accommodates regardless of whether someone tends naturally towards one or the other. Who knows, maybe in time we’ll just accept these differences as naturally as the learning differences of Howard Gardner and allow for both optimism and pessimism within the way learning gets facilitated.

Somewhere, the ‘optimism only’ never felt completely right to me. If you don’t prepare properly, diligently and effectively for a test or exam it doesn’t matter how optimistically you focus your thoughts – you’re not going to do well. If you haven’t trained, have been eating the wrong diet and not getting enough sleep, it doesn’t matter how optimistic you are on sports day, there’s a good chance someone’s going to beat you.

When you’ve filled yourself with optimistic zeal, how much disappointment are you in for when reality comes a-calling? Personally, I’d rather be acknowledging that if there’s someone out there who has worked harder than me, prepared better, used better methods etc. it doesn’t matter what’s going on in my mind – his best will probably be better than mine. That doesn’t preclude me from raising my game in the future – in fact, with my feet on tera firma maybe I’m more open to figuring out what I need to do to iomprove.

So, what will it be for you – glass half full or glass half empty?


The TedxLondon conference on 17th September will be sub-titled: “The Education Revolution”.


There’s a really fascinating line up of speakers, including Sir Ken Robinson and Sal Khan. Maybe most of us can’t make it there, but we can make sure to catch all the videos afterwards!

TSRS Back at Number One !!

It’s official. We have known for a couple of weeks, but the new edition of Education World magazine just came out this afternoon, confirming that TSRS is back at the top of the tree – number one Day School in the country.

The other news is that Aravali, which got its own ranking for the first time last year has moved up from number 12 to number 11. There’s some irony in the differential scores between the two schools when you consider they have the same leadership team, ethos and philosophy etc. Age and duration at the top is obviously what’s making the difference.

We’re yet to get in to the fine grain data (a bit of a problem with the magazine’s website), but here are the basics on the survey:

Education World Annual Survey Results
Education World – Best Day Schools

Without having been able to get fully in to the data, the categories that we have done best in are ones which are close to our hearts;
– attention to the individual student,
– quality and competence of faculty
– welfare and development of faculty
– involvement of parents

More to follow when we get the data. A group of us will go to collect the Awards at a gala dinner in Delhi on 17th September.

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