Certainly you’ve seen the old thing about seeing the glass half-empty or half-full and how that’s supposed to tell you if you’re more pessimistic or optimistic. Early in my life, I was a “half-empty” kind of guy…always seeing the worst in every situation and in every person, especially myself. And while there might be some realism in this viewpoint, it totally misses the good that might be present…totally ignores the silver lining in the dark cloud.
Later, after I got out of the military and moved to California, I met some people who taught me how much better it is to be a “half-full” kind of guy…trying to see the best in every situation and every person, as if the negatives didn’t exist. The way I was taught by these very well intended people was almost delusional because it was SOOOOOO positive all the time. Maybe this will be an extreme example, but it was almost like if someone punched me in the face, I was supposed to be happy because they could punch so hard and then be happy that I still had a few teeth left in my mouth…all while smiling smiling smiling.
Later still, after a few years of engineering, started seeing the glass as two times bigger than it should be. In other words, there was an “obvious” waste of glass, not to mention the wasted space that might otherwise have been filled with something. And this mental filtering found its way into how I saw situations and people, including myself. People were “too this” or “not enough of that” and of course I was most harsh on myself.
So, imagine my surprise at learning a completely new perspective when I read this post about optimism from Jodi at HealNowandForever.net. First and foremost, her post had an illustration that totally twisted my perspective in a good way. The picture makes it abundantly clear that the glass was always full…partly with water and partly with air. The amount of water and air might vary in the moment, but the glass was always full from the start. That simple illustration threw me for a loop and I don’t mind admitting that.
Even more, in Jodi’s simple elegant words, she pointed out a much more realistic way of being an optimistic person. It recognizes the fact that sure, there might be negative in a situation, but also CHOOSES to find and focus on the positive in the situation. Suppose I lose my job tomorrow. That’s definitely a negative situation…at first. But I can choose to see it as an opportunity to start my own business. I can see it as a chance to break free of office politics. I can see it as a chance to look for a job in a whole new career area.
And one of the things I love most about Jodi’s post is the way she provides a VERY SIMPLE action step to start developing an optimistic outlook. Think of things you’re grateful for. So, I’m going to add a whole new page to this blog, where every day I’m going to share something I’m grateful for.
To set the example…today, I’m grateful I read Jodi’s post. How about you?