This is what life looks like through the eyes of an optimist vs. a pessimist

BY: ROBERT AMOROSO

“A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.” Harry S. Truman

The life of an average person is unique and different; it is full of obstacles, challenges and celebrations. In essence it’s part of the everyday grind.

Perspective influences everything that we do in life. Everyone has their own way of viewing different scenarios that come their way. We know that we don’t see our lives by objective means. Naturally we are subjective beings. In the simplest term, we see everything through a filter. As human beings, we have biases, differing opinions and unique personalities. In most cases our personality alters our perceptions on how we view things.

People often ask, is your glass half full or half empty? In every sense this is a loaded question. Is there truly a right or wrong answer?

When it comes to the subject of human behaviour, our ability to make logical and sound decisions is much harder than what one may think.

Today’s increasingly difficult and uncertain environment presents us with many challenges and opportunities.

Any particular situation or scenario can be both daunting and exciting, and dependent on how we view an opportunity or the fear of the unknown. In short, we either see a glass half full or half empty.

We have all heard this phrase one time or another. Basically it’s about being optimistic (half full) or pessimistic (half empty) when looking at different situations that life throws at us daily.

Our response most likely can reflect our moods and also our overall outlook on life.

SCENARIO #1

Bobby’s Atom hockey team is mired in a losing streak. They have lost five in a row. Today as a team they played a more complete game but still came out on the losing end.

Glass half full: There is progress from the team. They are doing the right things and the bounces will start to come their way.

Glass half empty: No matter how they played, the score shows that they lost once again.

The half full mindset represents growth, support, empowerment and endless possibilities. While the half empty mindset generates feelings of low energy, it can be draining physically and mentally while creating undue stress.

SCENARIO #2:

You’ve spent the last month or so involved in a series of 1st, 2nd and 3rd round of interviews with a prospective employer. In the end, you find out that you didn’t receive an offer for employment.

Glass half full: The opportunity was there, you build off that knowing that an opportunity will eventually come your way. There is definitely a progression.

Glass half empty: Feelings of disappointment, failure take charge of the situation. You feel like nothing goes your way.

The overall interpretation of any particular event can either empower you or deplete you. Perspective can change everything.

“Life is a creation of the mind.” Buddha

SCENARIO #3:

Your boss calls you at 11 am and asks you to meet in his office at 3 pm sharp. The company rumor mill has been forecasting terminations.

You may …

Write a list of your co-workers that you base on years of service, work performance, and overall work ethic. This way you can defend yourself if necessary.

Or… You try to figure out what you may have done wrong.

And … you spend the rest of the day sending out feelers to other prospective contacts in the field.

Glass half full: You’ve experienced your fair share of highs and lows in your work life. This particular situation can make you a much stronger person. This can be an opportunity to find a more rewarding job.

Glass half empty: You look at the situation with negativity. You tend to look at the situation by subjective means.

SCENARIO #4:

The first day of school.

There are always two types of people on the first day of school. One student is excited to tackle their first day of classes and the opportunity of the school year, and the other dreads stepping foot in school after an amazing summer.

Glass half full: There is an opportunity for growth. You relish the moment. The element of change molds us later in life.

Glass half empty: You have problems handling change. You show signs of anxiety and the fear of the unknown.

In every sense of the word optimism creates opportunities while a pessimistic attitude can kill them. We should always strive for the best outcome or the greatest good.

SCENARIO #5:

Work was cancelled due to inclement weather.

Glass half full: You take the opportunity to enjoy the day off, and you’ve worked so hard that you are in dire need of a break.

Glass half empty: Can’t afford to miss a day of work. Stress and anxiety rule the day.

SCENARIO #6:

You are shipwrecked on a deserted island.

Glass half full: You have that positive mindset and you know that you will be rescued.

Glass half empty: Doom and gloom sets in. The thoughts of no hope and despair become a part of your day.

SCENARIO #7:

Jenny has applied at four different universities. She gets rejected by the one that she most wanted to attend.

Glass half full: One door closes another one opens. There are other opportunities. It’s not the end of the world and there are three other universities that you have applied to.

Glass half empty: Your mindset was focused on that particular university. You feel like giving up and getting a job instead. Failure and rejection are two dreaded words that rule your psyche.

SCENARIO #8:

The movie theatre is overcrowded.

Glass half full: Regardless of the number of people the experience was well worth it. It’s a time to relax, unwind with family and friends.

Glass half empty: Negativity sets in because it was too overcrowded. This put a damper on your free time and you didn’t enjoy the movie experience.

How to always see the glass half full?

Map out the best intentions.

The intentions you choose vary accordingly to the challenges you face.

Step out of your comfort zone.

The very thing we need to improve our circumstances often involves a bit of courage. The thought of change can be a good thing.

Reframe problem into an opportunity.

“Problems cannot be solved at the same levels of thinking at which they were created.” Albert Einstein.

Pessimists often see problems, while optimists find opportunities.

Avoid the dreadful energy drainers.

Optimism is contagious and so too is pessimism.

View each situation in the eyes of an optimist.

“There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Shakespeare.

Our most important milestones in life involve the elements of change-school, relationships, jobs, births and deaths. Life can be filled with crossroads and decisions. The word change is often seen as a scary word. It often evokes fear or uncertainty.

Change can be interpreted in so many ways, but viewing change (transition) as a glass half full mentality is the best way to make the most of any particular situation.