“Optimists build aeroplanes, pessimists build parachutes”
The glass half empty or glass half full conundrum has been asked to generations of adults in the office, at home and at restaurants. We’re joking about the last one! It’s widely accepted that we should all see the glass of water as half full, but putting that mentality into practice is easier said than done. Many skeptics struggle with seeing any effect on their mental health and wonder if it’s all a bunch of feel-good nonsense. Does seeing the glass as half full actually accomplish anything?
Perspective is Effective
Perspective influences every single thing in our lives, whether or not we are conscious of it. We are naturally subjective, so we see every event or thing that happens to us through a filter. Someone who is financially well-off might see a car repair as a mere inconvenience, while someone who lives paycheck-to-paycheck could see that repair as devastating. What’s the filter? Money and the perception of wealth.
Everyone is also born and raised with different biases and preferences as a result of their upbringing. Introverts see things different than extroverts. In the same vein, pessimists see things differently than optimists. In some ways, these filters can be fixed onto us and feel hard to shake. Getting over three decades of pessimism is not as simple as waking up, seeing rain outside and thinking that ducks must be having a wonderful day. Therapy can help you to shift your perspective, but remember that perspectives can be incredibly hard to change, so you can cut yourself a little bit of slack!
A Glass Half Full
Countless research studies have been designed to measure the effect of perspective on our lives. A recent study found that ten years post-graduation, law students with a glass half full perspective earned a whopping $32,667 more than their peers and dealt with obstacles in a more positive manner. Because these students expected good things to happen, they chose to make positive actions to produce those results. Expecting negative results can lead to negative and self-destructive choices that stand in your way. If you think that your boss dislikes you and will give you a negative performance review, you are much more likely to perform poorly and make negative choices on the job. However, if you see that dislike as a small obstacle, you might do the opposite—working even harder to prove him wrong.
How to Change Your Perspective
Like we mentioned above, perspective is a challenging thing to shift. When changing your perspective, start by:
- Focusing on positive intentions every day that state what you will do instead of what you won’t do.
- Stretch your comfort zone and practice having courage in your professional life and your personal life. When you get positive results from these leaps, you will fill your glass up with positivity and optimism.
- Instead of seeing obstacles as problems, shift your perspective and look at them as opportunities.
- Avoid circumstances or activities that make you feel pessimistic, whether that means unfollowing someone negative on social media or spending less time around negative friends.
- Fake it until you make it with optimism. The more that you practice optimism, the more that it will become a part of your everyday life.
Get in Touch
Ready to start seeing your glass as half full? Contact CBT Baltimore to get on the right track at 443-470-9815.