A Simple Glass of Water

We played the glass of water routine on our friends back in in high school, or maybe it was junior high.  I’m sure you know this one. We filled a glass half way with water and then took it around asking, ’Is the glass half full or half empty’?


If a person answered half full, we’d tell them they were an optimist.  If someone answered half empty, we’d tell them they were a pessimist.  It was easy to make blanket assumptions over the glass of water because, after all, we only gave them only two choices: full or empty. (Today, I would use that technique as a sales lesson. When you narrow the options down to two things, it makes the selection process simpler).


But we all know the game.  I wonder what would we have said if one of them tried to stump is by saying, ‘It’s just a half a glass of water’?


When we grew up, the shtick evolved into an endless array of one-liners.  ‘While the optimist and pessimist were busy arguing about whether the glass was half full or half empty, the opportunist drank it.’  ‘It doesn’t matter if the glass is half full or half empty, there’s clearly room for more wine.’  And all the while, the cynic wonders who drank the other half.


Regardless of how you choose to view the glass these days, the lesson is that people see things in their own ways, or as Anais Nin so clearly stated ‘We don’t see things are they are, we see things as we are.’ It simply means that given the same set of circumstances people will see things from their own perspective.


But there’s another glass of water story that bears repeating.  Although the original source remains unknown, it’s valuable because it impacts not only our personal lives, but the life of our businesses.  It goes like this:


A lecturer, when explaining stress management to a class, raised a glass of water and asked, “how heavy is this glass of water?” Answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g. The lecturer replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it.”


“If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. “In each case, it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”


He continued, “And that’s the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on.” “As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the demands of life.”


It’s almost Labor Day.  Do you know where the summer went? Have you had a chance to relax? Have you had a break from the stress, taken a vacation or even a long weekend to escape and unwind? They say that when you get to be a boss your workday goes from 8 hours to 12.  I don’t need to mention the additional mental and physical toll it takes.  You know.


But do you also know that just taking a small portion of the day to do things that make you happy, increases your energy, productivity, creativity and attitude many times over? It renews your drive and motivation. The most successful people in the world have learned that in order to effectively function in the business world and affect positive growth and change, they need to invest time and energy in themselves first.


Have you learned that yet? What will you do for yourself today?


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