If there is a recipe for contentment, it calls for four ounces…
In this recipe, though, the unspecified ingredient is less important than how the cook views that half a cup. Four ounces in an eight-ounce glass: half full or half empty?
I think most of us see ourselves as leaning naturally toward either optimism or pessimism. Those who tend to be more hopeful know how to look for the good in difficult circumstances. Those who brace themselves for the negative don’t want to be caught off-guard when trouble comes.
It seems very few are exclusively one or the other. The popular idea of new year’s resolutions requires some optimism – though the pessimist might simply anticipate failing sooner.
A well-known quote resolves the opposing tendencies with a third option: “The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The realist adjusts the sails.” I love this quote — and i didn’t notice until a good friend observed it that one can do all three.
As for my own perspective, if i had to pick a label, it would be realist. (I touched on this in an earlier post about positivity and negativity.) I also like the old phrase cautiously optimistic.
Aside from the question of whether (and to what degree) one’s inclination is innate or conditioned, it does seem to be somewhat adjustable. This is a crucial premise of my friend Danny’s motivational blog, well worth checking out: Dream Big Dream Often.
He encourages readers to take steps toward adding an ounce or two to the cup ourselves. Good friends and others can help us with this, just as negative folks in our lives can seem as though they’re depleting us ounce by ounce.
Every ounce (or ‘oz’ as they’re abbreviated in recipes) can make a difference. Rather than being limited by the starting half cup measurement, we have considerable influence over our own attitude, over adding to or subtracting from it. You could say we are our own wizards of oz.
How would you describe your outlook?