[This first appeared two years ago. It is still applicable today.]
The obvious usefulness of the half-empty/half-full metaphor obscures the deeper truth that lies behind it.
We are able to judge someone’s ability to contribute to a project, a
business, or our lives by simply observing whether they consider
situations as declining or growing.
"Half-empty’ people view the world around them with dismay and take
the position that the best in life is over and all that remains are the
dregs. No matter what anyone does, their attention is firmly fixed on
the past and its supposedly better days. As a result, their ability to
exert a positive influence on anything around them is negligible.
We may consider such people as losers. The truth in their eyes is
infinitely worse. they consider that they have already lost and they
are resignedly staving off their inevitable descent into oblivion.
These people live with the specter of imminent failure every day. The
wonder is not that they are depressed, the wonder is that they are able
to continue living at all.
The mere fact that they are able to continue working and living,
while whining and grumbling as they do, hints that under it all they
secretly hope that there is some slight chance of rescue.
And there is.
Life sweeps onward through time and space, even for those who are
hiding under rocks like a hellgrammite. There is no inevitability that
things will "improve" or "decline". There is only change and your own
potential to exert control over some part of that change.
At at given moment, you can bring about a dramatic change in your
own future by deciding to confront what it is that you are doing and
how it is related to your own chances of personal survival. It is this
incredibly powerful, yet subtle action of facing something and taking
responsibility for some part of it that starts you an the road to
taking control of your destiny.
Without getting into the broader issues of looking out for oneself
versus looking out for self, others and for humanity, it is sufficient
to say that the road to personal and community survival starts with
taking responsibility for your own condition in life and acting to
change it for the better.
This is true, even if you have struggled and lost every time you
tried to change things before. All that happened was that you didn’t
observe what part you played in your demise. You could have been
lacking information, because all the will-power and determination in
the world will not help you if you are being wrong-headed about who is
to blame for your present condition.
I say this, not from some lofty height of divinely inspired
enlightenment, but from having been guided by others to improve my
ability to confront my actions over time until I was able to see that I
exert control over life only to the extent that I can confront it.
If you would like to see things get better instead or worse, I
suggest that you might want to learn how to observe what is happening
and take responsibility for some small part of it. It could be
enlightening. Results may vary…
The glass of life is continually being refilled. Make sure you are prepared to drink deeply of it.