Is Your Glass Half Full or Is It Half Empty?

Glass Half FullPositive or Negative? Optimist or Pessimist? Does it matter, glass half full perspective or not? Do my thoughts and reactions even influence my day? Does my perception influence my reality? Is an attitude contagious?

Inception, one of my favorite movies had this one basic concept – “Everything in life starts off as an idea”. (Don’t worry…no spoilers ) Later in the movie they need to influence someone’s thoughts and have a choice between picking a positive or negative idea. They pick the positive idea.

Why a positive idea though? Positive thoughts are loving, warm, inspiring and good motivators. Negative thoughts like fear, anxiety, and ungratefulness are negative motivators. Positive motivators inspire you each day to get out of bed, accomplish goals, solve problems and help others. They even help you jump in bed ready to sleep. Negative motivators drag you down and linger in your thoughts. They keep you up at night. They might get you to do something but it will normally be for a selfish reason. They might get you what you want out of others but it’ll normally be out of fear. Positive and negative feelings and attitudes are contagious.

We can’t get ahead of ourselves though and forget that the foundation is laid within ourselves. Our ideas are the cornerstone and the contagious source of influence. If we accept responsibility for our thoughts and ideas, and how we influence others then we’ll really see which direction our lives are going. As men we are often told that we’re responsible for our actions. I say we’re also responsible for our thoughts and ideas that lead to these actions. And the consequences are results of the direction we’re headed down, and when we take a good look at them they will reveal whether we are influencing others’ lives positively or negatively.

[quote]“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” ~Winston Churchill[/quote]

The title of this article, this idiom, is a common phrase often used to describe personalities and different perspectives of an event, situation or circumstance. “Are you a glass half full or half empty type of person?” can often be heard or asked. To the point where your answer almost always dictates how you are then perceived by others.

Let’s ask ourselves….

Am I a glass half full or glass half empty type of person?

How often do I complain?

Do I complain silently or outwardly?

Do I automatically think it can’t be done?

How often do I let little things nag at me or ruin my day?

Do I nitpick?

What would my family, friends, coworkers or acquaintances say?

How do I influence their days?

“I once complained about having no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.” ~Unknown

I think if we’re honest with ourselves then we’ll agree that we do influence each other positively or negatively. And if we choose to set our path on a positive course then this is the direction our day and moments will head towards. If your answers lean negative and you want to turn positive then let it start with an idea. Make the decision and take it one step at a time. Most of all – Don’t give up.




  1. Loved this! I also like to tell people that the glass is always full, the rest is filled with air.

    But if I’m honest, when I speak to others about their issues/events/etc, I’m super positive. I want them to come back to me for venting and think of me as someone who lifts them up and brightens their days. When I talk about my situations, I’m usually envisioning the worst case scenario and I’m very negative. Then, I try to find one good thing about the situation to make myself feel like an optimist. “Every cloud has a silver lining” but my cloud has ridiculous amounts of lightning and I think it will transform into a tornado and wreck havoc on my life. Your cloud, however, will be a sweet light rain during allergy season that leaves everything clean and refreshed.

    • Thanks Kaylan! “The rest is filled with air” to support positive thinking? First time I heard that one and I like it!

      With others I also try to remain positive while also being realistic. For example, if a friend failed a test I could say, “Guess you didn’t study enough” which could be true but doesn’t offer support. Or I could say, “Is there anything I can do to help you pass or I’m sure you’ll get it next time”. All true but the affect differs. It can be a fine line and I try to look at how the listener reacts.

      For myself experience has helped me keep a positive outlook and then follow up with realistic solutions that I’m capable of achieving.

  2. I admit that for a long time I’ve been a glass half empty kind of guy. I’m sure it had a negative effect on both myself and the people around me. As I learn more about how to deal with some depression issues I have, things are really turning around. Overall I’m much happier and much more likely to see the positive side of things. When I do start focusing on the negatives I actually catch myself now and try to focus on the good stuff. For most people it’s not something that they can switch on or off. Often they have to find the root of their problems and gradually build up a positive outlook by casting away previous preconceptions.

    • Sorry to hear that Jeremy. But glad to hear it looks like it’s all changing for you. I agree with the root problems especially when it’s a chronic habit. I think for me now my positive switch is usually turned on so if I find it turned off I just switch it back on to where it’s comfortable.

  3. The half glass full person is optimistic the barman is still serving.

    Myself, I think a true optimist would see the glass always half empty. After all there is only ‘one glass’ any person should consider. The half glass full belongs to somebody else. My rational for this is as follows:

    1. The glass to be considered is one’s individual glass.
    2. This defines the liquid not to be water as most presume, but instead to be the ‘elixir of life’.
    3. One should always sip/drink/swill from said elixir. (this might describe the person’s nature, but not the persons quality)
    4. No one really knows how big their glass is. They only realise ‘in the end’.
    5. Despite how one consumes the elixir, when it is gone it is finished. (ie. some lead full but short-lived lives, whilst some get old doing nothing).
    6. The size of the glass is not a reflection of the quality of life. The taste of the liquid is.

    For the reason I conclude it is a Half Glass (neither full nor empty, but always mine to drink).
    This also sits with the notion that I am not waiting on someone else to satisfy me.

    Where do you place the Horse and the Cart?

    • Interesting view and I think I understand what you’re saying. I don’t think the glass is someone’s life though. “Half glass full or half empty” is a common expression of how you view things you’re faced with in life; from a optimistic or pessimistic view point. If you see the glass as half empty than you’re not content and focusing on what you don’t have, but if you see its as half full you’re thankful and content for what you do have.

      In the end though as long as we Never Give Up, keep fighting and becoming better men than it’s all good.

      “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” Abraham Lincoln

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