As we reach the end of October we hit some important milestones.  We change the clocks, we have Halloween and we have bonfire night.  All of this reminds me to highlight some basic safety points:

  • watch out on the slippery pavements and paths – falling leaves and frosts can be a nightmare
  • give yourself a little bit longer for the journey and, if walking or cycling make sure you can be seen
  • wear sensible clothing for the weather – warm and waterproof ideally (and decent shoes would help too)
  • take care around bonfires, fireworks etc

Late Autumn in Scotland can be a great time of the year but it is not without its problems – with good planning and care we can all enjoy the opportunities to the full.

One of our big PTA events ‘fright night’ is linked to this time of year.  When it was first suggested to me two years ago that we should have a fright night my reaction was “not a chance, the risks were too great, it wold not be safe”.  So in 2014 we did not have a fright night.

By the following year we had done more work on growth mind set, on the need to take risks and learn from them and the need to try to go outside our comfort zone.  So rather than think of reasons not to do “fright night” I asked people to think about how we could possibly make it happen.  After an awful lot of work and careful planning we figured out how to manage the various risks and we held our first PTA fright night in October 2015.  It was a massive success both in terms of money raised and the fun people had at the event.

On Friday 4 November 2016 we held our second ever PTA fright night and I am pretty sure it will be a regular feature in our calendar.  Indeed this year we had to put up the ‘sold out’ sign by 8.30 when it became clear we had booked up all the tour slots.  Next year it will have to be advance bookings only.

Fright night is an example of moving from a situation where I thought something was impossible to a situation where I know it possible.  Some people say “anything is possible when you put your mind to it”.  I do not completely agree with this view.  Something is only possible when you put your mind to it and when you are prepared to put the work in to make it possible.  I can put my mind into improving my golf as much as I wan but it will not improve unless I am also willing to go out and practice a lot more.  So yes you need a growth mind set – striving to improve, belief that change is possible.  But you also need to make a real commitment to work hard to overcome barriers, to then be willing to work even harder when things do not go to plan.

As I write this blog Andy Murray is on the brink of becoming world number 1 in tennis.  A few years back I had my doubts about Andy – he was reaching several finals but failing at the final hurdle.  Although he had the desire and belief I did not think he had the work ethic of Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic.  It has been great to see Andy Murray ‘bounce back’ from the setbacks, redouble his efforts and put himself on the brink of being the best in the world.  Whether it is in the context of ‘Fright Night’ or tennis or school work or any other aspect of our lives there are important lessons there for us all.