I know now what it was that I jointly won in December for the writing competition. We will be getting book vouchers. I wonder if this was the original prize as its identity was kept secret for so long. The announcement, officially, has been held back by sick leave(s) but will be in the customer created newsletter next month, along with the printing of the winning stories.
There is supposed to be another taking place later in the year, and by those I have spoken to, it aught be for a larger word count. 500 it seems is not that popular. Ironically this number was selected as to not put off people writing a story as it was not that many, 250 word stories are an art in themselves, easily passing the count if not careful and cutting the story out in the editing to get down to the count. I think they aught try 750 next.
Can it still be called a win if both the entrants win because of the lack of turnout? There is certainly no sense of victory, I recognise the achievement – I entered, entering another will be easier now, but victory? The worst thing is that others may be inspired to enter the next one because they perceive it as being one, which is good, but we are looking at a totally different side of a box and if my attitude does not match their perceived competition success then I could come off looking aloof or ungrateful. Or even have them giving up on the idea of entering at all if I come off dismissive. For some in the clubhouses entering could be a big self esteem boost, as well as a major talking point for weeks.
Why should ‘I‘ care?
It has been noted that I am ‘popular’ within the framework of the mental health groups/clubhouses, and that is not by chance. It has been hard work. Interacting with others outside of the groups, even passing through a room, especially when I don’t want to, has been an uphill struggle. But I read a psychological study somewhere that stated we as a race seek positive social interactions, so much so that we receive a chemical reward when we have them, I admit I was very sceptical, it’s not like we liked World Peace 1 and World Peace 2 that much we are now eagerly awaiting for the start of World Peace 3. But what had I to loose? If coupled with the smile theories also read, it had heaps of potential reward for only the cost of time.
And this is why I should care.
The work that I have done to try and improve my condition, if only in these settings, is by choice. My interactions with these people is by choice and in the same setting their interactions with me is by choice, whether they know it or not. Sometimes one choice is easier than than another, sometimes we do it automatically, not really knowing why. But for whatever reason we all have chosen to spend time in those environments and should we not be looking to make those environments the best that we can? Finding a different viewpoint for the perception, to make it more positive, improves the environment that I share.
Is it manipulation?
If giving someone time, a smile, an ear when needed or even encouragement for no advancement or direct gain is manipulation then yes. If having your positivity towards someone reflected back to you is manipulation then yes. Yes I gain from it, but only as much as what I have put in to each person, it balances out, like the pendulum of a clock.
Who knows, maybe one day I will really need that positive greeting just to get me through it.