Home Inspiration Personal Development Is your glass half full or half empty?

Is your glass half full or half empty?

glass half full

I’m sure you have heard that to be happy is a choice. Or that optimism is a choice. Do you choose to see the glass half empty or half full? We  explain the difference between positive and negative thinking, or optimism or pessimism.

Related article: How do You See Yourself?

Believe it or not, this way of looking at life is a filter, a thinking style in your brain – pessimism and optimism. Instead of seeing it as just polar opposites, rather think of them on a continuum.

Your focus

It shows what you focus on most of the time. And that reflects in how you feel most of the time. So if you focus on what is going wrong, what is missing, where you have lack, then that will make you feel miserable and you will feel out of control, as if life is happening to you. In other words a pessimistic outlook on life expecting things to go wrong. This creates a negative cycle of events and results in your life as you attract exactly what you don’t want.


On the flip side, if you focus on what is going right, be grateful for what you have, your abundance, then that will make you feel happy and excited and you will feel in control of you life. You are making things happen. In other words an optimistic outlook on life expecting things to go right. This then creates a positive cycle of events and results in your life as you attract exactly what you want.

Opposite scenarios

Two opposite scenarios indeed. Looking at the above descriptions of these opposite scenarios, where are you? Are you more a worst scenario or best scenario kind of person? Where do you focus your thoughts and energies? How do you feel most of the time?

What to do if you tend to focus on the negative? How do you change that? It is possible. In fact, it is something I have done myself. Martin Seligman wrote a book called Learned Optimism and he said that anyone can learn optimism. I can vouch for that. In NLP and Neuro-Semantics we know that everything we are we have learned and you can unlearn things that don’t work for you and learn new things that would serve you well. Often our beliefs are just outdated and needs an update.


To train your brain to learn optimism, is to practice focusing on the positive things in your life. Repetition is key here. Make a list of everything that you appreciate in your life. Think of all your life areas. People in your life, things you can do, things you have, etc. Then make a list of all your successes no matter how small they are. Focus on these every hour until you find that you tend to look more at the positives than negatives.

When something does not go according to your expectations, flip it around with the following statements and questions:

  • This is NOT about me. I am more than this
  • This is NOT about everything. It is only about this particular context.
  • This is NOT permanent. It is only temporary and shall pass.
  • What can I learn from this and how can I use this to my advantage?

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Written by Dina Marais

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