• Myles Biggs

Is your glass half full?

Perhaps you're asking yourself the wrong question.

According to Wikipedia:

"Is the glass half empty or half full?" is a common expression, a proverbial phrase, generally used rhetorically to indicate that a particular situation could be a cause for Pessimism or Optimism, or as a general litmus test to simply determine an individual's worldview.

We’ve all heard this phrase. The arguments for either side of the equation have earned themselves top honors in the cliché hall of fame. As a society, we tend to like things in shades of black and white, with areas of grey making us feel all squirmy inside.

Therefore, we try to force everyone into these two camps:

Glass Half Full – these people are exhaustively optimistic. Not only are their glasses half full, but they are often spilling over. These people self-identify as "living the dream" and answer simple questions like “how are you today?” with high-energy exclamations of "wonderful" or "marvelous".

Glass Half Empty – these people are equally as exhausting, yet overly pessimistic. Instead of "living the dream" these people are answer the “how are you today?” question with deep philosophical musings like "oh, I’m doing" or "you know, another day".

But what if there was another option – a third option where we got to even the playing field and did not have to choose between manic or depressive?

Instead of being half full or half empty, what if all we need is a different glass?

Glass full to the brim and splashing goodness everywhere? Time to increase the size.

Glass so half empty that you’re focusing on the empty space instead of the greatness sloshing around inside? Time to decrease the size and then slowly work back into a larger vessel.

Eight ounces of water in a sixteen-ounce glass equals half. But, that same eight ounces, in an eight-ounce glass is full. Are you any happier with that liquid based on how much room is or is not left in the glass?

To me, this is one of those ideas that makes so much sense it means that no one will do it. This is a for sure, “Could have had a V8”, moment that reminds us how “common sense” isn’t as common as we wish it to be.

We can take the metaphor one step further by asking whether or not we even want to fill a particular glass. Just because a glass is full, doesn’t mean we are happy. If we spend our time working to fill a glass placed in front of us by someone else, and leave our own desires half empty, the result is still a lack of fulfillment.

The message here is simple. If we all focus on the amazing things we have, instead of chasing the things we do not have, or need, we can effectively choose sustainable happiness in all of our pursuits – both personal and professional.

So, ask yourself: Is your glass half full? Half empty? Or do you just need to select a new glass?

Listen to the podcast episode on this topic.


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