The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious of the rose
The other day I spent a few hours with a guy who spent most of the time telling me why nothing could make his future brighter. Unhappily I left feeling he was defeated before he started and used his perceived victimization as the rationale for all of his problems. He seemed to feel that the world was unfair and that it needed to change and lead him to great things. At times I felt like he was telling me he was too good to have to do what was necessary for him to get out of the doldrums. I left somewhat depressed for I fear that he may never find the happiness he desires.
Of course I got into the half glass analysis as I rode away. Is it half full or half empty, or is it like an engineering friend said to me one time, it’s the wrong size. My friend Sally told me once that she did not have time to worry about the question as she was too busy cleaning up the overflow. She is one of those special persons that go through life finding joy everywhere she goes.
Upon reflection I think my engineering friend may have the real answer, maybe more often than not we see the glass bigger than it needs to be and if we decide that we really don’t need an oversize tumbler to contain our life we would find more satisfaction.
When I got home I dug up something my late friend Jack sent me in 2007 that address the traditional question, here is what he sent:
We are all familiar with the metaphorical story of two people looking at the same glass and one perceiving it as half-full while the other sees it as half-empty. As much as we’ve heard this, it’s still a valuable exercise to really observe our minds and notice whether we are engaged in half-full or half-empty thinking. People will refer to themselves as being of one type or the other as if it was a permanent characteristic, but we are all capable of shifting into a half-full consciousness if we simply make the effort.
When we look at our lives with half-empty consciousness, we perceive a lack and think that the other half of what we want is missing. We are coming from a position of expectation and entitlement. On the other hand, when we look at our lives as half-full we perceive fullness. It is as if we recognize that our cup could be fully empty and so we are grateful for what we see as bounty, not something we expect or believe we are owed, but a gift. In half-full consciousness, we count our blessings. When we look at our lives we see all the elements that are in place and all the things we do have. This doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t seek more, but we seek from a place of fullness instead of from a place of lack. This fullness draws positive energy into our lives and often attracts more abundance.
If you would like to begin to make the shift into half-full consciousness, try imagining your life as an empty glass. This is your life without all the people you know, the work you do, your home, or your current state of physical wellbeing. This is just an empty, open space waiting to be filled. Once you have that feeling of openness in your mind, begin filling it with all the people, things, and places that make up your life. You may be surprised to find your glass overflowing.
I would only like to add that we don’t have to live with the glass we are given, we can select the one we want and fill it as full as we wish. The hand that is on the faucet is our own and what goes into the glass is under our control and not under the control of others. For me I choose to be happy with what I have and sometimes I even get to be like Sally, just letting the glass overflow without spending too much time wondering why I am so fortunate.
For myself I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use being anything else.
Sir Winston Churchill
Heard on the answering machine
1. Me no here. Me go bye. Leave me message. Me reply.
2. "Suicide Hotline…please hold."
3. Hellooo….Hellloooo, well if you won’t talk to me maybe you’ll talk to this machine, it’s at home and I’m not, leave a message and it’ll give it to me when I return.
4. Alpha Centauri Space Station. Commander Marlin can’t come to the phone right now. He’s either saving the universe from some dread, unnamed peril, or perhaps taking a nappie. Leave your name and number after the beep and he will return your call.
5. (With loud music playing in the background) "Hello… HELLO?? I can’t hear you! What? Oh.. we’re not home, leave a message.
6. Now I lay me down to sleep; Leave a message at the beep. If I should die before I wake, remember to erase the tape.
7. Please leave a message. However, you have the right to remain silent. Everything you say will be recorded and will be used by us.
8. "Hi, I’m not home right now but my answering machine is, so you can talk to it instead. Wait for the beep.
9. We’re sorry. You have reached an imaginary number. Please rotate your phone 90 degrees and try again.
10. Hello, this is Susan. I don’t live here, so if you were trying to call me, you’ve dialed the wrong number. On the other hand, if you were trying to call John, Jim, or Eric, please leave your name and number at the tone. I don’t guarantee that one of them will call you back — only that I won’t.
Have you ever imagined a world with no hypothetical situations?
What Your Baby Would Tell You
On life’s pleasures:
Don’t be jealous, but I think I’m in love with the ceiling fan
I know where the remote control is, but it’ll cost you
To you, it’s just an empty egg carton; to me, it’s PlayStation 2
Actually, I don’t mind sitting in a bathtub that I’ve peed in
On life’s pain:
Two words I’d rather not hear from you: rectal thermometer
On the ignorance of parents:
I’ve told you five times what a cow says. If you can’t remember, I’m not telling you again
There is no question that I can cry longer than you can listen
I’m not just wildly throwing my food. I’m exploring the laws of gravity, estimating mass, and testing wind velocity
If you wanted a good sleeper, you should have gotten a cat
On life’s great questions:
Who the heck is that baby in the mirror you keep asking me about?
If my bottom is so darn cute, why is someone always trying to cover it up?
Who are you two to tell me how important it is to sleep alone?
A final thought:
What you secretly believe is true: I am much smarter than other babies
She was a handsome woman of forty-five and would remain so for many years.
A Congressman was once asked about his attitude toward whiskey.
"If you mean the demon drink that poisons the mind, pollutes the body, desecrates family life, and inflames sinners, then I’m against it.
But, if you mean the elixir of Christmas cheer, the shield against winter chill, the taxable potion that puts needed funds into public coffers to comfort little crippled children, then I’m for it.
This is my position, and I will not compromise."
Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations
George Bernard Shaw
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
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The editor is somewhat senile.
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