29 June 2015
The rhetorical question “Is the glass half empty or half full?” has been used for a long time to differentiate between the ‘optimists’, who have a tendency to look at things from a positive point of view and the ‘pessimists’, that is those who can only see things from the negative perspective. The metaphor is so universally accepted that one can even label people as glass-half-empty types or glass-half-full kind! In our house i’m the eternally enthusiastic optimist who not only looks at the glass half full but is also convinced that the bottle to fill up the remaining space is lying around somewhere close! My husband, the pragmatist has to constantly temper this “illogical hopefulness” with his realism. So how does he see the glass…perhaps as an engineer his rational explanation would be the glass is half full of air and half with water, so where’s the question of being half empty?!
Truly this classic image is open to many more interpretations than just the simple pessimist-optimist one. Every couple of months someone comes up with a new take which is dutifully forwarded on Whatsapp and emails. It’s almost as if the entire diverse elements of our complicated modern life want to be reflected in this half-empty-half-full-glass. So here’s a peek into some curated elucidations–some amazingly insightful, some hilariously funny but all brilliant in their own way…my top twenty!
~ For the optimist the glass is half full; for the pessimist it is half empty.
~ The project manager feels that the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
~ The consultant says let’s examine the question, prepare a strategy for an answer, and all for a daily rate of a thousand dollars or thereabouts…
~ The entrepreneur sees the glass as undervalued by half its potential.
~ The politician says that under the last government the glass was half-empty, and becoming emptier, but thanks to his own party’s new leadership, the glass is definitely now half-full, and becoming fuller.
~The statistical analyst will convince you that where the glass is in process of being filled then it is half full; where it is in the process of being emptied then it is half empty.
~ The auditor first checks whether the empty half is material and then designs the audit procedures to obtain sufficient evidence to conclude that the glass is indeed empty.
~ The software engineer says: Clearly, we are dealing with a serious usability concern here. We need to improve our flawed algorithm creating this UX (user experience) discomfort and illusion.
~ The call-centre operator asks if you’d mind holding while she finds out for you. (Your call is important to them…)
~ Meanwhile Google would try to answer the question for you in under 0.48 seconds.
~ The IT support person asks if you’ve tried emptying the glass and then refilling it.
~ Among friends at a pub the question is not whether the glass is half full or half empty, it’s about who is paying for the next round.
~The marketing professional convinces the buyer that what’s left is more valuable than the first half.
~The investment banker says: “I see an opportunity! Let’s put a couple of options on the full half and leverage it until it’s too big to fail, then sell a tons of it…and while we are at it, let’s do the same to the empty half and sell that too!
~ The ‘Guru’ will tell you..Half-full or half-empty glasses? A liberated soul craves not these things…remember the glass itself is broken in the first place
~ Sheldon (of TBBT) would be horrified someone has drunk half and left his germs on the glass.
~ The cynic wonders who drank the other half.
~ An investigative journalist smells a whiff of a scandal and promptly the half empty glass is raised by Arnab Goswami in his 9 pm panel discussion with the ominous refrain ‘the nation wants to know’!!
~The Taoist sees that the glass is both half empty and half full, that neither half could exist without the other…so in the purity of absolute truth the glass is neither half full nor half empty, the glass simply IS…
~ And to end it all…what about the glass? The glass would tell us, “I’m not ‘a glass’, I’m a perfectly formed drinking receptacle which happens to be ‘made of glass’, and if I had a penny for every time someone asked that question I would be over flowing!!