Back when I was serving in the US Marines, I remember my first company commander saying right before our battalion air alert inspection, “It takes 1,000 ‘at a boys’ to make up for one ‘ah shit.'” Even then, I knew exactly what he was talking about. People will remember the negative things you do much more than the positive. I have found this to be true, not only when I was serving in the marines, but in life in general.

One of the things I experienced as a youth and tried to convey in my book, “He Was Weird,” was the frustration one can have when people are quick to condemn you when you do something wrong but even quicker to ignore when you do something well. Like, Mark in the story, I experienced this quite a lot. In sports, I was usually one extreme or the other. I would make a great play one second then the next, make an absolute stinker of a play. No prizes given for which one people remembered more.

Unfortunately, I had the same experience with my mother when it came to school. It didn’t seem to matter that I got A’s in Spelling and Handwriting and B’s in Math and a couple of other subjects. She went on and on about the D I got in something called Work Habits. If I had known what that was, I would have done something more to improve on it. What I learned here was that focusing on the negative while ignoring the positive won’t necessarily make someone improve on the negative. At least not without some feedback as to what was wrong in the first place.

While people tend to focus more on the negative, my experiences have made me focus on it even more. This negative focus has led me to become extremely actions in many situations. Like last week’s post on supply teaching for example, a few cases of negative feedback has now left me second guessing myself at times. Obviously, there are many other instances in my life where that has happened, and with anyone who has Asperger’s Syndrome, it’s a potential minefield.

Working with persons whose Asperger’s Syndrome, I know how difficult it is for them to cope. One thing I must do is to give these people constant reassurance. Often times, like me, they have had experiences which focused on the negative so they might not realize the positive. It’s my job to point out the positive to them. Saying that, I think we all need that reassurance from time to time. If it had been the case in my early life, I wouldn’t have the anxieties I had in the past.

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