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Half it your way

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I minored in psychology, and so it always intrigues me when people try to drag out the "is the glass half-empty or half-full" assessment. We all know your answer is supposed to determine whether you're generally a pessimist or an optimist. But come on.

See, for me, it's all about context. If you just poured the glass, it's half-full. If you're drinking it (or otherwise emptying it), it's half-empty. It all depends on what direction the liquid is going. So does this make me a pessimist or an optimist?

Or, you say, what if you remove the context? What if you just walked into the room and found the glass sitting there? Then what would you say, smart guy?

This is a daily occurance at my house, where the kids pour themselves a glass of milk, take one drink, and leave the rest sitting there to go bad. So whoever said there's no use crying over spilt milk 1) isn't aware of what milk costs these days, and 2) doesn't realize there's just as much use crying over wasted milk.

So when I see the glass sitting there, I still say it's half-full. But not because I'm an optimist. I see it half-full because someone poured half a glass and then left it to go to waste. Maybe it makes me a pessimist, but I actually think it makes me a realist. It's not so much seeing things as "good" or "bad" as seeing them for just what they are.

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