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Is Your Glass Half-Empty or Half-Full?

Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors

Is Your Glass Half-Empty or Half-Full?

Let your cup runneth over!
Michael J. Chase
Michael J. Chase More by this author
Aug 17, 2013 at 10:00 AM

There’s a wonderful little story about seven-year-old twin boys. One was a complete pessimist, the other a total optimist. Worried about their extreme personalities, their mother decided to take them to a psychiatrist.

First, the doctor attempted to treat the pessimistic boy who was always crying, complaining, and miserable no matter what the circumstances were. In an effort to brighten his outlook on life, the psychiatrist took him to a room that was piled to the ceiling with brand-new toys. “They’re all for you!” he exclaimed with zeal. For the next couple of minutes, the child looked carefully at the toys, but instead of tearing open the boxes and playing with delight, he burst into tears.

“What’s the matter?” the psychiatrist asked, baffled by this meltdown. “Don’t you want to play with any of your new toys?”

“Yes!” the little boy screamed, “but this one says it’s for ages nine and up, and I’m only seven. And this one says it needs batteries, and I didn’t bring any! And this one says I need to assemble it, and I don’t know how!” Quite concerned by the child’s attitude, the doctor informed the mother that treatment would likely be necessary.

Next, the psychiatrist began to work with the other twin, the eternal optimist. He was the complete opposite of his brother, and nothing seemed to bring him down. Trying to dampen his outlook, this boy was taken to a room that was full of fresh horse manure. Certain that this would upset him, the doctor said, “It’s all for you, son. This is my gift to you!”

But rather than looking at the pile of feces with disgust, the child’s eyes sparkled with excitement. Seconds later, he jumped eagerly into the foul-smelling waste and began joyfully digging out scoop after scoop with his bare hands. Totally confused and quite concerned about the boy’s well-being, the psychiatrist screamed, “What do you think you’re doing?”

Wiping himself off, the little optimist looked up with enthusiasm and exclaimed, “With all this manure, there must be a pony in here somewhere!”

Many people have heard a version of this story, but they don’t often take it to the next level. If they did, they’d realize that it’s all about the power of perspective. Choosing to view the world with optimism, and having the ability to “find the pony” within the challenges that come our way, is truly what it’s all about. Sadly, many of us decide to remain mired in the “pile” and waste our time complaining about it. This is the victim’s point of view, and it’s one that can never lead to a more joyous and kinder life.

Then there are those who simply can’t stand the smell of manure for more than a day or two before deciding that there’s another way to view their problems. These are the people who see the bigger picture, grab a shovel, and start digging! They understand that moving through issues is what ultimately leads to self-discovery (they grow personally and spiritually through their challenges), compassion (their heart now goes out to those in similar situations), and wisdom (they gain the experience and insight to help others).

Perhaps the greatest gift we’ve been given as creative beings is the power of choice. We make thousands of choices every single day—whether they be the people we associate with, our careers, the words we speak, the clothes we wear, or which street we choose to walk down. Each of our lives is an accumulation of the decisions we’ve made. The power of choice is what makes us ordinary or extraordinary, and to be a conscious chooser is to have the ability to manifest or alter anything we wish to.

Deciding to take total responsibility was my first step toward a life that was no longer riddled with blame and conflict. Whether it was my depression or my financial demise, I was no longer willing to point my finger at the rest of the world. After choosing to be 100 percent accountable for everything that came my way, my circumstances began to change.

I now know that it’s up to me to manage my emotions, career, finances, relationships, and even my ability to lose a few pounds. This outlook gave me an overwhelming sense of confidence, which translated into many new friends and great opportunities.

I learned that responsibility is an attractive quality, especially since people were asking me for advice. I also discovered that it meant occasionally needing to swallow my pride and say five very challenging words from time to time: “I’m sorry” and “I was wrong.”

This is one of the most difficult yet liberating things you can do in your interactions with others. Admitting that you were wrong is an absolute must if you’d like to live peacefully, and this is true whether you’re dealing with an issue in your marriage or sitting in rush-hour traffic. Letting go of your need to be right ends conflict instantly and drowns the ego’s desire to be “better than.”

Is this easy? Absolutely not. But with time and honest self-observation, it will not only become possible, it will also seem natural. After all, this is how you first arrived in the world. When you were born, you were never interested in being right or superior to others. The true, unconditioned self wants cooperation rather than competition.

About Author
Michael J. Chase
Affectionately known as “The Kindness Guy,” Michael J. Chase is an author, inspirational speaker, and a powerful voice for creating a kinder world. At the age of 37, following a life-changing epiphany, Michael ended an award-winning photography caree Continue reading