Positive Thinking and Resourcefulness … and Macaroni Cheese.

Let me nail my colours to the mast: I find people who constantly complain and take a negative view incredibly annoying. It’s a behavioural trait that I find difficult to tolerate … that said, I’m very well aware that I used to be very negative and sarcastic myself …

Today I’d like to share a little story about my friend Sarah and her macaroni cheese to highlight how – by contrast – a little positive thinking and resourcefulness can go a long way.

About 20 years ago, Sarah and I were room-mates in halls of residence at Birmingham University (UK). In typical student fashion, the closer we got to the end of term, the less money we had, and the deeper we dug into our overdrafts.

On one Saturday afternoon, we were both hungry, but a quick inspection of the cupboard (which rapidly turned into a desperate search for anything edible) revealed that we had practically nothing to eat.

My own response was to grumpily resign myself to the fact that I was either going to go hungry or head to the supermarket and get further into student debt.

Sarah, though, had other ideas. “What can you make with flour?” she asked.
“Flour and what?” I replied.
“No,” she said, “just flour”.

Imagining the most tasteless of flatbreads, I dourly replied, “nothing”.

About half an hour later Sarah appeared with two plates of macaroni cheese.

Where … How??! I cynically thought she must have resorted to theft … but no!

Searching again in the cupboards that we’d previously thought were bare, she’d found a packet of dried macaroni left by a student the previous year. It was past the ‘sell-by’ date … but it was dried macaroni … how bad could it possibly be? (Not bad at all, as it happened)

She’d also remembered that on our outside window ledge (we didn’t have a fridge) we had left a few individual portions of wrapped cheese that we’d pinched from the student canteen.

I’m guessing she stole a splash of someone else’s milk from somewhere in the kitchen … and with such unpromising ingredients had conjured up a passable macaroni cheese for two.

The moral of the story is:
1) Think positively and don’t give up. Where there’s a will there’s a way.
2) If the situation seems bleak, look again carefully, and re-evaluate: you have more resources at your disposal than you realise
3) Think laterally and don’t give up: even with a little it’s possible to do quite a lot.

And Sarah, if I never said so at the time, thank you for that macaroni cheese … and for the surprising life lessons it taught me 🙂


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