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Headmaster's Blog: Attitude and effort vs victory and achievementThe short-term reward is a holiday; the long-term reward is a life attitude which really will be world-beating!

Date published: Mon 4 Dec 2017  

It is starting to be the time when one reflects back over the term (pulling together, for one thing, the (I hope) popular video montage which we’ll send out as a Christmas ‘card’). And of course the always-excellent Whitgift Choristers put some of us in the Christmas mood with carols at The Ritz on Saturday: a chance to entertain some friends of the School in style.

Whenever I write about great performances or achievements, I think that there are two important riders. One, there are plenty of boys who do great stuff which doesn’t happen to hit the headlines. So, however stunning it is, for example, that the U15s beat Trinity to progress in the Cup, or that the U16 hockey players beat Cranleigh to get to their national final, it’s also fantastic that our U15 cross country runners came 6th in their national final, and that the U12 Biathlon team won gold in theirs. Nor should we forget the hard work of the Charities Committee, the winning STEM projects from the Lower Thirds, or indeed the Instrumental Music Scheme concert of Thursday.

The other thought is, I suppose, linked, and it’s that the virtue of maintaining high levels of attitude and effort can sometimes be forgotten in praise of victory and achievement. A character in Travel Channel’s Life Below Zero said, ‘I like being tired. It makes me feel I’ve worked hard, and that’s a good feeling’ - and he’s right. One-off successes are great; performances get applause and rightly so, and winning is jolly nice. But keeping going can be tough, and as we near the end of a long term, that is our challenge.

Any sportsman knows that the last few minutes of a game are not the time to slow down or lose concentration; actors and musicians would never ease up towards the final curtain or the end of a run. Indeed, the end being in sight, this is the time to go for it with all we’ve got. The short-term reward is a holiday; the long-term reward is a life attitude which really will be world-beating!

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