Grateful that your glass is half-full? How about considering also the entire string of events and people that created and got that glass to you ?
Who doesn’t know the glass half-empty or hall-full story? Most everyone, and if you view the glass half-empty, you’re labeled as a “Pessimist.” No problem there. And those who view the glass half-full in contrast are typically referred to as “Optimists.” And I would further imagine that optimists will likely feel “gratitude” for all they notice and appreciate whatever is in that glass. That’s nice, but how limiting if that’s as far as you go!
Now if you were to come to me for coaching, I would typically assign you to write down at least 3,500 things you have to be grateful for. For some at the beginning, identifying just five gratitude items seems a herculean task as they are depressed, “asleep”, and unaware. My job is awaken this awareness and get you thinking “outside the glass.” Try this and while this may still be a challenges with a host of plateaus, before you know it, with a little persistence you will be accelerating toward that 3,500 target and well beyond… and pretty soon everything in your life become gratifying making life a virtual heaven, no matter what. And in the process, you’ve developed a mighty “Gratitude Muscle.”
Here’s the secret.
Back to the glass, first not only does the glass contain something, but how about noticing and appreciating the nothingness or air that also occupies its space? You wouldn’t exist without that air and nothingness in itself creates opportunities. Next the big trick is to “think outside the glass.” How did the water, beverage, fuel, material, etc. get into the glass? The answers could include pipes, faucets, filtration systems, tankers, mining, trucks, airplanes, pilots, your hands, packaging, windmills or even scientific efforts. Who educated the people that produced these? Who financed them? Insured them? Who created, combined, or discovered the material? Who transported the material and produced, insured, and financed the vehicles to do so. Who trained the drivers or built the roads, airplanes or the like. Has someone perhaps gone to the trouble of checking its safety the safety of the glass or contents, measured the contents, or provided you with a listing of contents? Or maybe it was you who filled the glass. Who produced you, delivered you, educated, protected you long enough to be reading this? Think of the immense contributions that were made to allow you to read this message right now… book, computer screen, teachers who taught you to read, your eyesight, and so on and so. Can you begin to realize that there are virtually endless trails of gratitude waiting to be recognized and appreciated. Or conversely, maybe you take it all for granted, but hopefully no longer.
It is only in very recent times that we could flick a switch and light would appear, or flush a toilet and waste would disappear. How about luxury of hot or cold, or drinkable running water, a huge assortment of foods, furnishings, clothing, entertainment, transportation, health care, toys, and communication devices that have been added just in my lifetime. Air-conditioning and manmade irrigation has made it hospitable, even comfortable for many to live in the American Southwest. Furthermore, we have the option of no longer performing with our body to survive as hunters. We have so many choices and options galore that take miracles of logistics for which I would suggest that we should all be grateful. Take them for granted or as entitled, and you’re sleeping on the wonders around you.
Take a police, fire, and ambulance siren for another example. The pessimist may focus on the sadness, loss, or calamity. In contrast, the awakened one will feel so grateful for the people, management, systems, resources, and quicker response times that exist – that as a species we have taken the organization of aid/help to another level. There has and always will be fires, sick and injured, and people making wrong choices, but now we have combined will, spirit, training, tools/technology, resources, and communications to limit the damage and perhaps save lives and property. For that I am grateful.
So if you really want to be an optimist, expand your horizons from what you notice inside the glass to the glass itself, the air, and, of course what’s “outside the glass.” Your life will quickly transform for the better!