Half Empty or Half Full?
Dear Why Team member,
I hope this message finds you well.
This week we consider the price we pay with the thoughts we think.
“Cost is only an issue in the absence of value.”
I heard this sentence many years ago and have shared this insight thousands of times - to help provide perspective both in life and in business. I also often share that the cynic knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing. Well, while that may be a bit extreme, you likely get my point.
Recently, I had the pleasure of following onto stage a man I admire: Professional speaker John Quinlan, soon to be age 71, and still a Force of Nature.
I shared from stage what I thought the first time I heard him speak six years ago: “I want to be him when I grow up”. John’s passion and infectious enthusiasm for life, and all the possibilities it holds for the future, conveys his powerful and timeless spirit. His body may be turning 71, but his spirit is as young as it’s ever been. We’ve all encountered the opposite: physically younger people who seem older because of their cynical and often pessimistic spirit.
Why the choice?
John shared many great insights, but one in particular- which we have all heard before- struck me because of the different way he presented it. He said, “The glass is half empty or half full - both statements are true - but it’s up to you what you focus on.” What struck me is the part about both statements being true. So why do we focus on one versus the other?
It’s fascinating how confirmation bias affects our life; leading us to see and often only to see that which confirms our bias.
Biases often blind us from the truth. So, since it’s impossible to eliminate bias altogether, might we consider proactively choosing the biases that are likely to serve us best?! There is plenty of evidence to support just about any position you choose. The bigger question is WHY did you choose that position? Our brains are built for bias - does your bias serve you or limit you? Is the cost of your bias worth its value in your life? Because cost IS an issue if the cost provides very little value.
Several years ago, a good friend of mine gave me a simple, yet powerful insight. He said, “Every “yes” is a “no” to something else, and every “no” is a “yes” to something else.” It’s the something else at which we say “yes” or “no” to that fascinates me. Consider the broader cost-benefit of your decisions. For example, a “No” to Ice Cream can be seen as a “Yes” to your body. This isn’t saying that the occasional scoop of ice cream isn’t a “yes” to the body, but If you want to lose a few pounds, “yes” to ice cream is a “no” to your body. What are your goals and objectives - and why do you make choices contrary to them?
On a larger scale, let’s apply this to a world view: Glass half-full or Glass half-empty?
“Yes” to half full is a “no” to half empty. “Yes” to abundance is a “no” to scarcity and lack.
Now let’s consider the opposite: “Yes” to half empty is “no” to half full?! Even cynics would stop to question why would a cynic choose this version :-)
Stop for 5 minutes and examine yourself. Have you done that lately?
I strongly encourage self-checkups and more frequent self-checkups than the annual one you owe the doctor.
What is your habitual choice?
Why do you choose it?
Do you feel that it’s a choice?
William Wordsworth said:
“Habits Rule the unreflecting herd”
Socrates said: “The unexamined life is not worth living”.
This is really what the Why Team is all about. If the unexamined life is not worth living, then it would also be true that the examined life IS worth living. Examining why we choose to allow our limiting habits of thought to rule our lives, rather than changing those habits via examination, is what coming together as the Why Team is all about. This weekly post is about thinking in ways we have rarely or never thought; thoughts sometimes not so easy to think. A gym for the mind so-to-speak; a little stress on the synapses to strengthen our cognition and empower us to choose more empowering thoughts to fuel a more abundant and exciting life.
Einstein said we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking that caused them. Consider your biases and whether the cost of your habitual thoughts is worth their value in your life.
Cost IS an issue in the absence of value. Consider what you habitually say “yes” or “no” to - and consider the “something else” that got the opposite of that choice. This is where healthy boundaries are a must. “Yes” to work could be viewed as a “no” to family - but the work serves the family. However, if the work is fear driven, from the mindset of half empty, the fearful thoughts can lead to unhealthy boundaries, often at the expense of your health and your relationships. The most successful among us take time to examine their choices, often hiring a life coach to take regular hard looks at their choices; to examine whether they are respecting their boundaries and their benefits, or not - and if not - Why?
Those most successful in life set boundaries, giving everything they have within a specific framework of time and doing the same when they are physically training or when they are with friends and family. Being fully present within the boundaries established is a recipe for a life well lived - and if those boundaries are being broken, it’s a call to be more conscious as to WHY!
A Half-Empty view of life?
Or a Half-Full view?
Everyone serves: as an example of what to do or what not to do. To be an effective source of abundance, we must recognize our own and live accordingly.
Life rarely has easy answers, maybe that’s why we hesitate to ask more questions. But taking some time, regularly, to weigh the costs of our decisions, evaluating our boundaries, when and why we say yes or no, can lead to a more conscious and fulfilling experience of life.
Thanks for saying “Yes” to the Why Team. It’s my hope, that through a little more examination, it has made your life a little bit more worth living.
Make it a great week!