Glass Half Full

Is glass-half-full way of thinking hardwired in us?

I read an article a couple of years ago about research that found biological evidence which proved there are negative and positive people in the world. It sounded interesting.  At least I found it interesting because I have always believed that I have a choice of following a positive or a negative mindset.

A study performed in the Michigan State University, involving 71 women, found that some of the participants of the survey struggled to put a positive spin on difficult situations which they had to observe. The participants of the study had the opportunity to look at various photos and provide their opinion about a potential outcome of a situation they saw in the picture.

As much as I find the results of this research interesting, I still like to think that I have a choice. Even though some people might find it more difficult to view certain situations in a favourable light, adopting a positive attitude is possible.

Of course, I am not saying we should convince ourselves that whatever happens in our lives is positive and beneficial to us, but I still believe that being a glass-half-full person is in fact rewarding.

Let me share with you a couple of reasons why being positive is helpful:

  • Expecting a positive outcome and good things to come will lead you to take actions that result in progress and more often than not in positive outcomes unless your positivity is somewhat naivety or irresponsible behaviour.
  • Expecting negative results or that bad things will come your way will slow you down, or even worse will keep you from taking steps, and you will deny yourself of the steps that might have helped you prevent or reduce the adverse outcome you feared.
  • Expecting positive things to happen is also helpful when it comes to closing the gap between where you are now, even if you are struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and where your desired destination is. With the positive mindset, you will take the courage to step outside your comfort zone and do something you found challenging before. It is undeniably an excellent way to stretch yourself because it builds self-confidence in a specific field and improves your overall self-esteem.
  • I often say that where a pessimist sees a problem, I find an opportunity. Have you seen anyone solving a problem by complaining about it? I haven’t.

Problem-solving is a creative process, and while it is true that it requires us to think about the problem itself, it also includes an analysis of the problem which then leads to solutions; given we are dissatisfied with the current way of doing things.

Some would argue that willingness to solve a particular problem also depends on the level of dissatisfaction and discomfort with the problem we are trying to solve, and I somewhat agree with that opinion. But beyond the willingness, being able to reframe the situation and view it from a different angle is as much important.  If you change the way you look at your situation, and the challenges in it, not only your view will change but the problem itself. Your mind will suddenly shed light on a rich array of opportunities to discover inner resources, ways to learn and grow.

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