Everything we do can either be seen in a positive manner or negative manner. There are obvious things that happen that people see as positive. Spending time with friends. Getting a big raise or kudos at work. Having fun doing a hobby you like. These are all totally obvious positive experiences. It’s easy to see the “cup as being half full” in these situations. In other situations, it is easy to see things as negative – that is to say – as the “cup being half empty.” Losing a job, losing a relationship, getting injured, etc.
What is striking to me is that seeing the cup as half full is a conscious choice regardless of the situation, and relative to each person. One person might be elated to get kudos for a job well-done at work in front of their employees, whereas another person might actually greatly dislike the public recognition and not feel comfortable with it (I’ve seen this happen before).
I was in yoga class yesterday and we spent a lot of time upside-down, doing handstands and other inversions. These poses can be terrifying for some people, but can also be incredibly fun and rewarding for those that are willing to give it a try (we were working with partners, so there was little risk of falling!). This was a recent example of how the same exact situation could be seen as a total bummer for some people and a totally uplifting and fun experience for others.
The trick is to realize that every situation is like this, and that we have a choice to interpret the situation as a great opportunity to learn, try something new, grow and maybe have some fun….or as an excuse to retreat into some story about how the world is out to get us or how things aren’t working out the way they should. The choice is ours every time. What choice do you tend to make?