• Deirdre Maloney


A friend of mine asked me to attend an improv class in Toronto last year, and I was totally up for it. At the time, I was looking to improve my public speaking skills and felt both terrified and excited to attend.

We met up to head downtown on a Thursday evening. Arriving early, we decided to stop along the way to grab a bite to eat. We found an excellent little Thai restaurant right around the corner from our event. Sharing our public speaking experiences during the meal, we were both looking forward to this upcoming class.

At 7 pm sharp, we walked through the doors to a small café that had been closed to host this private class. Chairs had been neatly lined up in five rows of four to five seats per row. We settled into our row, and I surveyed the room. There were more women than men present, and light chatter filled the air.

The host took space at the front of the room and got our attention. He explained how the evening would work and began putting us in groups of two or three. Our first exercise was to pretend that we were telling our partner about an evening out at a function we had attended.

We were meant to have felt insecure at the event. The listening partner needed to respond with positive reinforcements.

Partner: “I went to this event last weekend; I think my outfit was out of place, and everyone looked like they were much better dressed than I was.”

Me: “You always look amazing; your style is so unique and has a flare. I bet all the ladies were wondering where you bought your outfit.”

The conversation continued like this for around 2 minutes. Then he asked us to respond with negativity.

Partner: “My husband walked away to the bar at the party and then ignored me the rest of the night. I felt so alone.”

Me: “Of course he did; he’s a total loser. I bet he was chatting up other women.”

I felt horrible doing the negative bit; it was so unnatural for me! I had to work hard to force the words out. After the 2 minute piece, we all sat back in our seats, and the instructor asked everyone which feedback in the conversation was more comfortable to give, the positive or the negative. He asked for the people who felt best giving the positive feedback to raise their hands. I was the only person. Then he asked who felt most comfortable giving negative feedback and everyone else raised their hand. I was shocked, like jaw-dropping to the floor. How could this be possible in a room of 20 people? If this room was any demonstration of how the population is functioning, then I’m concerned. Even if it were 50/50, I would have been shocked! No wonder people aren’t living their dream lives; the power of positive thought is critical. If there is this much comfort in negative thinking, we need a universal shift.

How about a class in elementary school that teaches kids how to be powerful positive thinkers? I didn’t come across teachings like this until I read The Secret when I was in my twenties, and it completely changed my life! I can imagine if it had been introduced to me at a young age, it would have changed what I thought about my future and my self.

I recognized something in myself that day while sitting in that little café. There was something different about me. I want to see the world through rose coloured glasses. Believing that there is something good in everyone and giving second chances feels good. If we can learn to combine feeling good with positive thinking, we may shift towards the dream life we secretly desire.

Be Well.

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