Why are we brits so negative and low in belief.

Have you noticed when someone is asked ‘how are things/how are you’ invariably the reply is ‘not bad, can’t grumble’. In Europe however the reply is more likely to be ‘fine, things are improving’. Go to New York, Miami or Phoenix and the response is likely to be ‘awesome, great or swell’.

Why is it that us Brits seem so negative? Is it that we have a built in defence mechanism to avoid disappointment. Is it a question of belief, or rather the lack of belief?

I doubt whether Murray is good enough to win Wimbledon was the familiar comment a couple of months back. “We won’t win the Tour de France this year” – Chris Froome did just that – runner-up in 2012. I’m sure that there are many other examples.

Expect to lose, or focus on losing and guess what, you lose! You can’t focus on not winning and expect to win. Whether it relates to sport, business or a personal goal we could be far more successful if we visualise the moment of winning. Techniques such as visualisation, preparation, practice and self-belief are used by those who regularly experience success.

Maybe we all need inspirational leadership. Winston Churchill once said, ‘I am an optimist, it does not seem too much use being anything else’. But then again his mother Jennie Jerome was an American. However even Churchill was not returned to run the country after the end of World War II. So perhaps success comes with its price? He of course became PM again in 1951.

We seem reluctant to believe in the current economic recovery. Where in the USA the Dow Jones repeatedly goes over the 52 week high. In the UK the FTSE seems static; every time there is an improvement it falls back again. I am no student of global economy; however the US economy seems to be in a far stronger position than the UK. American’s are far more optimistic than us Brits and always seem more positive. Small and medium business in the UK remains very cautious. Some say that if you wait for the bandwagon you could well be too late.

Returning to sport, perhaps it might be worth reflecting on something Mohammed Ail said, “Don’t quit, suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion”.

At least we now know that the UK’s economy is growing faster than it has for quite some time. Whilst perhaps we should not be ecstatic we should be more pleased than many appear to be.

Alan Fletcher 8 November 2013