Snow came back with limited vengeance over the weekend and this was happily coincident with the freedom to go sledging. This amazingly uncomplicated pastime gives amazing amounts of pleasure to the family. Surely it is this sort of activity that will help us grow as people and find confidence to take on the world. At least, at the very least, there is very little that can go wrong with a shallow gradient, snow and a piece of plastic away from roads, drops offs and pit-falls. Who can fail to be in an optimistic mood after that? Of course, when we get home we need to re-feed and get some energy for the rest of the daily activities. Lucky for us we did not choose the candy option. One of the children’s stories I had downloaded “Tommy Tortoise Gets the Sugar Blues” by Arla Caraboolad is a cautionary tale aimed at the youth of today. The message is simple already from the title. It is carried relentlessly until even the slowest of the kids will have understood the principle. The drawings lifted the few phrases and unlocked in me a desire to be positive on this one. Choosing to be positive was the theme of Kent A. Washington’s “Unlocking the Successful You”. It is a true and often repeated sentiment that how we view the world affects our emotional state about the world and our own wellbeing. Think positively and you will have a much better time of it. Understand the reasons why you are working hard and you will love what you thought was toil. This was very much a Dale Carnegie or Napoleon Hill approach and no less effective because of it. In the same way that Tommy the Tortoise was not telling a new story, Kent used a well-known key to unlock the successful you. It is the same as riding down the same hill time after time, in that the effect will always be similar, barring disaster, but we do it because we get something out of it each and every time. It reminded me of another arena, talking with a couple of professors about the nervousness associated with giving presentations. They are both well skilled and very experienced in speaking to hundreds of strangers who will ask questions, but still, they admit to the same nerves that they had as a novice. Tina Sibley writes a compelling guide called “Befriending the Bear of Public Speaking” which goes step by step through the process. It does not pull the punch that yes, you will be nervous, but that is ok. Nerves are splendid, nerves are what make the anticipation of sliding down the big hill that much more fun. The key to a successful outcome, that you end up in one piece at the other end of the ride and not too uncomfortable, is preparation. For sledging that means choosing the right hill, wearing the right gear and going at a time when you are able to enjoy it. For presentations, you may not choose the arena or the audience, but you do know about them and you do prepare yourself. Preparation is key to execution and that is why I enjoyed the weekend sledging with my family.