Hey, peoples. Alex is here to talk about character building. Not the writing kind (snooze), but the inner kind (yay!). Stayed tuned for details about his debut Highway To Hell. Take it away, Alex!
‘Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens, not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary results.’
This is a quote that I love and truly believe in. Also it is one that I need to start believing in more. More often than not I have a tragically negative side, and struggle to see the silver lining or the bright side of things. Yet, reading this quote it reminds me that it is not what happens that defines me but rather how I myself react to it all.
Allow me to take a moment to reflect on several moments in my life that I am often negative about when, while the experience may have been negative, or not what I would have wanted, there were plenty of positives to take.
My parents (and grandparents – It was a joint decision) decided to send me to an all-girls school from (I believe) the age of Eight until Eleven. Right in that period where boys are ‘smelly’ and girls are ‘stupid’. I was then taken from being one of only 3 boys in a school that was set up to cater for girls, to a school that was 80% male and geared similarly so. At the time, my experiences at both schools was anything but perfect, and looking back I have spent many years bemoaning my experiences, when in fact I should be glad. My time at the girls school did serve to make me a caring and sensitive man, and being thrown into the opposite environment helped me learn about the importance of adapting to an environment and that there can be more sides to an individual than just what is at first apparent.
Through these two experiences I received something that cannot be given by teachers or learnt in any other fashion that the way in which I did it. I learnt about myself. I developed character, and undoubtedly came out of it as a much stronger person that I would have been had it not happened.
Sadly, my annoying negativity does not end with my childhood. We are all living in difficult times and most months, come the last week before payday we are counting the Euro cents and scratching things off the list to make it through the week. Once again I take the negative aspects and focus on them, when I should smile and rise to the occasion. Life is a challenge and one to be enjoyed. It is a challenge that has been set to buy the groceries or what have you for a certain budget, and to be honest, I often enjoy it more than if I had the money to buy whatever I wanted. We have to think things through and once again times like these develop strong character and a never say die attitude that I will ensure to instill into my children so that they do not fall into my bad habits.
I am changing. It is slow progress, I will admit, but I am making a conscious effort to view each and every day with a smile, and see the positive in things. The cup is half full and as I am sure Andrew will agree, life is not filled with problems, but rather challenges and opportunities for growth.
I would not be where I am today had it not been for my past, and to revert to the quote I used at the start. Bad things do and will happen in life. Nobody will deny that, but it is how we view these incidents that will define the role they play in our lives.
Horror writer Alex Laybourne was born in the UK but relocated to The Netherlands to be with his wife. Together they have three wonderful children who despite their young age are showing all the signs of following in their father’s creative footsteps.
Alex’s debut novel Highway to Hell is a 96.000 word horror novel and the first in a trilogy that will take readers on a journey not just into hell, but through it.
Highway to Hell can be found on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, and Amazon.de, and for all non-kindle readers via Smashwords.com for just $2.99. You can also download a free sample of the novel at all of the above sites.
Alex is always interested in making new friends both readers and writers alike. You can find him at most hours of the waking day on Twitter under the name @vanplank or on his blog www.alexlaybourne.com