Is the glass half empty or half full?

Yeah, you probably have heard this question many times. If you say the glass is half empty, you’re probably pessimistic and if you say glass is half full, you’re optimistic.

But believe me, optimism is more than that.

So today I want to talk about the thinking patterns and behaviours of optimistic and pessimistic people.

Identify where you belong and what thinking pattern you’d like to adopt.

Have you heard such conversations before?

Anjali – Hey Rahul! Congrats on winning the contest last week. Your painting was wonderful. Are you thinking about enrolling your name for the championship?

Rahul – Maybe I just got lucky. 😅 I don’t think I can win the championship. There are so many people out there who are much better than me. I don’t think I’ll make it.

Can you relate to this?

You are always so busy, you never make time for me. I know I’m not your priority.”

You never understand me. You just know how to make a fuss over everything.”

Let’s talk about the first conversation. What do you think about Rahul? Is he confident? Is he optimistic? Is he being honest?

Hmm.. Well, I think he is not so confident about his talent, his work. He refuses to take credit for his hardwork. And Most Importantly – He thinks good events occur due to external and temporary factors.

Due to this attitude he is not able to utilise his potential to the fullest.

In the second conversation, you’ll notice words suggesting a permanent behaviour.

It shows us that the person believes that negative behaviours have permanent and uncontrollable factors.

Now here’s how I’d like to reframe the conversations and thinking patterns.

Rahul – Thank you so much Anjali! Yes, I spent hours working on that painting. Yes, I’ve been thinking about the same thing. I’ll definitely enroll my name. I’d would love to find out how much better I can do.


“We haven’t spent quality time together since past few days. I understand you are busy, but let’s plan something for us for the weekend”

“Yeah, I’ve been a bit busy these days, have a ton of work to complete. But it’s just for this week due to the meeting with international clients. Yeah, we can surely plan something for the weekend”

In the first conversation Rahul appears more honest about his efforts. He believes that he has the ability and skill to achieve success. He wants to give it a shot. He appears optimistic.

In the second conversation, they seem to understand that negative events have temporary causes. One setback does not mean you are not worth it, it doesn’t mean it’s over. Sometimes, unwanted events occur to strengthen your relationships and to increase your knowledge and skills to be successful.

I’ve learnt that when you think about setbacks as temporary are changeable, you feel hopeful and in control. (For eg – The difference between “He is always grumpy” and “He was in a bad mood”)

When you think about setbacks as permanent, then you have a problem. You think you haven’t got what it takes to make it. And then the worse thing happens – You stop trying.

When you think that positive events happen because of your efforts, you believe in yourself even more. When you believe that external forces cause good events for you, you do not feel long lasting happiness (For eg – The difference between “I won because I got lucky I guess..” and “I won because I worked hard”)

So based on these facts, this is my To-do list to increase Optimism –

• Refer to bad events as temporary and changeable

• Refer to good events and permanent and long lasting

• Carefully use the words ‘Always and never’

Replace it with ‘These days, lately, sometimes, etc’

• Be optimistic about future. You can start by taking small steps today to increase the likelihood of good events in future.

“Changing the destructive things you say to yourself when you experience the setbacks that life deals all of us is the central skill of optimism”

– Martin Seligman

Research shows that optimistic people perform better than pessimistic people in almost all domains.

Research states that optimistic people perform better at workplace, live longer and have better health. Optimism helps you with stress management and promotes happiness.

Increasing optimism is a skill. We can all learn how to get better at it.

I’ll soon be posting more exercises about Optimism. If you have any queries or any suggestions please let me know. Also I’d love to hear if you like these posts. I’d really appreciate your reply and support.

Thank you for being here💖🌈🙏

20 thoughts on “Is the glass half empty or half full?

  1. Over the years, I’ve encountered many types of people and learned a lot from it. One of the things I learned is that both extreme optimists and pessimists are very annoying and interacting with them can cause stress.
    Those extreme optimists would act like nothing will ever go wrong and they would oppose you if you bring up some possibilities of failure. I consider myself an optimist as well since I don’t back down to challenges but I’m not that of a fool to not consider contingencies.
    On the other hand, extreme pessimists act like everything in the world is bound to go wrong just because life and reality sucks. They don’t even try to think of ways to make things better since “what’s the point anyway?” they would say. They can darken even the lightest atmosphere.
    The thing is that the most affected of their attitude are the ones who have to deal with them.
    I think that there is some aort of balance here (for your and others’ sanity). Though in my opinion, you will not go wrong with more optimism in the mix.
    From my experience, there are two major types of optimists: those who did not suffer any real hardships, and those who have overcome severe adversities and remained positive alomg the way. The former is usually the most difficult to deal with.

    Liked by 2 people

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