Saturday, January 2, 2010

Half full Vs. Half Empty

The old idea is the glass half-full or half-empty is an example of how to frame something. Through it we are taught that it is better to view the glass as half-full. We should see the potential in things. We should look for what we have rather than what we are missing.

I disagree. I think that is too simplistic.

In some cases, it may be much better to view the glass as half-empty. If viewing the glass as half-full means that you are content with a half a glass, it is holding you back. Wouldn't it be better to recognize that the glass is half-empty and work on a solution to fill it back up?

So, I think, it is much better to be able to frame the glass as half-full OR half-empty (maybe even at the same time) depending on how you want to use it to motivate you. The thing is, it is a choice.

1 comment:

  1. Yup. I find sometimes people are eager to declare that a glass is half full just to show how much more POSITIVE (tm) and OPTIMISTIC (tm) they are than the person who is pointing out there is a problem. Of course, it's not always useful to mope about a problem, but glass-half-full people seem much more willing to put up with crap.

    It puts me in mind of Laos, for example. The common people of Laos mostly seem to see the glass as half full. Sure, there isn't a single proper hospital in the country, they live in grinding poverty, their government is what most Westerners would consider mentally ill, but hey, they get to drink every night, and dance every night, and there are free turkeys from the American government. The glass is half full! Or, well, there's a little in the glass, at least!

    Yes, if they were to really, truly apprehend how empty their glass is compared to people in many other countries, it would be heartbreaking for many, I'm sure. But it seems to me if they were willing to see things as a little more glass-half-empty they might be able to change things, the way people in other places have when faced with a similar situation and the good fortune to have access to information from abroad about how things are elsewhere.