One of the most common questions (or at least one that’ll forever be in my head) is do you see the glass half full or half empty?
It’s a simple question that over the years I’ve changed my answer over and over again.
For a time I didn’t care about the question, eventually seeing the glass half full. Then I went into a phase where I’d say the glass is always full. Now, I’ve gone full circle and say screw the glass.
As much as it’s a great analogy, I seriously don’t care about the glass. For me, it comes down to one thing: how you look at it.
I’m A Realist
Don’t get me wrong, I am an optimist at heart, after all, I’ve been harping on positivity for a few years now. From creating videos and writing articles that is positive and uplifting to meditating and always having something positive to say to people.
I love being positive and happy. It’s what gets me up in the morning.
But I also see things realistically as well.
I’m fully aware that every single day people are dying from war torn countries, car accidents, cancer, and more.
Being positive doesn’t mean you are ignorant of the world around you. It’s primarily why I don’t like that question. You are either someone who thinks always positively or always negatively. Or at least people can perceive it that way.
Positivity Isn’t Ignorance
I remember once that someone asked me why I was always smiling. Why am I always positive? They were theorizing that it was due to the media that I consumed. In a sense that is true. I choose to consume almost exclusively positive and informative content. But that’s my point.
I’m choosing to do that.
They were implying I was ignorant, that I couldn’t find any negative news because our country prohibits it. That’s not the case. I’m aware of the wars, oil spills, deaths, murders and so many other things.
But in the end I know that these are things are out of my control. I’m thinking realistically.
Negativity Isn’t Giving Up
But also don’t mistake my words for being negative or pessimistic. What has happened has happened already. It’s in the past. Yes we can absolutely remember these events, spread awareness, and try to prevent this from happening again. I believe that and do want to help with that.
But at the same time, we can’t go back. I believe that dwelling on the past isn’t the way forward. It’s not insensitive to move away and let go of the past, to use it as a means to grow stronger than before.
Realism Is Awareness
Even though positive thinking and negative thinking are both logical in their own ways, it all boils down to perspective. In the end, it’s how you see the glass, it’s contents, the shape and intricacies. Not whether or not it’s half full or half empty.
What I mean is look at the face value of the glass in this scenario, cover all the angles and then decide where to stand. But also decide why you are choosing that position.
I side with being positive because it is my nature. I am aware of what negative thinking can do to people. For a long time I used to be pessimistic about certain things, but no one knew. Or at least I didn’t tell anyone about it.
It might be because of that fact that I have a balance between the two sides. Being aware that what we believe and when we see things positively, we can achieve many things.
However at the same time I understand the costs of failure. I understand the difficulties, and the potential lack of faith others will have in you.
It’s these aspects that keep my mindset in balance. Between being optimistic and pessimistic. On being filled with hope, belief and determination, but also realizing the journey will be long, tough. And there will be times I will fail, make a fool of myself, and fall on my ass, but it’ll be so damn worth it.
Before I finish off, let me share a story. A story I read recently that is short, yet so profound.
At the end of the nineteenth century, just as colonial Africa was opening up as a market, all the manufacturers of shoes in Victorian England sent their representatives to Africa. They wanted to see if there might be an opportunity there for their wares. All duly came back in time with the same answer. ‘Nobody in Africa wears shoes. So, there is no market for our products there.’
Everyone said that, except for the Bata representative. He came back saying, ‘Nobody in Africa wears shoes. So, there’s a huge market for our products in Africa!’
And that’s why signs promoting Bata appear all over Africa, even in the remotest of spots. It’s why Bata’s shoes are known as the shoes of Africa.
So, what’s this got to do with positive and negative thinking?
It depends on how good you are at looking.