There are two different ways to look at six ounces of water in a 12-ounce cup.
That glass is either half-empty or half-full, as the saying (roughly) goes. Those who see it as half-empty are pessimistically dwelling on what’s missing, while those from the half-full camp are optimistically focusing on what’s there.
Okay, technically there’s also a third group.
They’re the ones who bitch about only getting water instead of juice or milk (or booze, more likely).
But I’m only talking about the first two groups today.
Which one are you?
I’m a ‘half-full’ guy, have been my whole life, mostly because the ‘half-‘empty’ folks always struck me as complainers.
“Hey, half my water’s missing,” sounds like a total complaint to me.
“At least I have half my water,” seems a bit more grateful.
‘Half-empty’ people argue that they’re more ‘problem solvers’ than complainers and they’re just trying to establish the initial facts of the current hydration situation.
But I’d argue back that just pointing out the negatives and ignoring the positives solves nothing. It’s just a discouraging way to look at something.
Of course, some people can turn that kind of discouragement into motivation to succeed, but most people do way better with a more positive outlook.
The words you choose to describe your situation totally affect your mindset.
The teachers at my kids’ school have figured this out.
On one of their hallway boards, they’ve posted a list of ‘half-empties’ and right below each one they’ve listed the alternative ‘half-fulls’.
When you read them all together, it becomes clear which point-of-view is more inspiring.
HALF-EMPTIES ⇒ HALF-FULLS
- This is too hard ⇒ This may take some time and effort
- It’s good enough ⇒ Is this really my best work?
- I’ll never be as smart as her/him ⇒ I’m going to figure out what he/she does and try it.
- I don’t understand ⇒ What am I missing?
- I give up ⇒ I’ll use some of the strategies I’ve learned
- I made a mistake ⇒ Mistakes help me improve
- I can’t make this any better ⇒ I can always improve, I’ll keep trying
- I’m not good at this ⇒ I’m on the right track
The words you choose to describe a situation totally affect your mindset.
All those ‘half-empties’ listed are pessimistically dwelling on what’s missing, while the ‘half-fulls’ are optimistically focusing on what’s there and what’s possible.
And when you’re stuck in the middle of any big problem, knowing what’s possible tends to be a lot more inspiring than pointing out all the things that are wrong.
Look at any problem you face as those six-ounces of water in a twelve-ounce cup.
Realize there are three different ways to look at it.
One way sees what’s missing, another sees what’s there, and the third way just wants booze.
Which one are you?
- Mike Lukas