Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Half Empty? Half Full? Or...Just a Glass?

Is the glass half full or half empty? This proverbial question is meant to determine your outlook on life - optimistic or pessimistic. But, what about those who see the glass and ask, does it matter? What about the ones who probe with deeper questions like, is there more to the glass?
When faced with these types of existential conundrums, I've always stood up proudly and declared "I'm a realist". I don't see the world in black and white, but in all its many shades of blue, green, yellow, etc. I have moments of elation and dreamy wide-eyed innocence, but I don't go through life with my head in the clouds. I wallow in self-pity now and then, but I don't think the world is out to get me. This spinning planet exists with or without me. Some days it rains and some days it's sunny. That's life. But...

Is that all? My dear friend, Lynn* - who I've written about before - has a peppy, joyous spirit. She looks at the world and sees its many possibilities. Another friend, let's call him Jake*, is the opposite. He sees everything around him as a potential for disaster. If he spies something positive, he turns toward it with a distrustful eye. For him, the good things will always disappear.
What's your view?
I can't help but be in awe of how a person's circumstances can change simply by a shift in perspective. Like the glass half empty or half full, the same situation can be seen as a positive or negative. But, how do you foster that outlook? For an individual like me, whose used to seeing things as I believe them to be - for example, "it's just a glass" - how can the switch be flipped?
I've read some excellent books in the past on the power of perspective and positive thinking. One of my favorites is The Noticer by Andy Andrews. It's a fairly simplistic explanation, but it has some fun stories. In truth, shifting perspective is not an easy thing. It requires changing your entire outlook on life, and that's not something that can be done overnight. Like this writing journey, it takes time. Perhaps, the best way - although a cliche to say - is to take one day at time. Instead of wondering what tomorrow may bring, maybe look at today and see what comes.

Do you think a person's outlook can change? If so, how do you foster a shift in perspective?

*Note: All names changed to protect the innocent. :D


  1. I do, if they want it to. Wanting to change is the key. To me, life is too short not to accept each day for the gift that it is and live it to the fullest, happily.

  2. I force myself to see it as half full - which doesn't mean I don't strive for 'glass overflowing' lol!

  3. half full for me and 'realist' for my husband. we make a fine pair.

  4. Thanks, Very interesting read, I’ve been really enjoying checking up your posts from time to time. Looking forward to see your future posts smile.
    Essay Writing

  5. Great post! Very interesting. I believe a person's outlook has EVERYTHING to do with their life circumstances, in both physical and nonphysical ways. And I agree that in order to change, they have to sincerely want to. Once they achieve a sincere desire to change, the rest will come rather easily. :D