Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by kassidy. kassidy Wonders, “can half full be more than half empty” Thanks for WONDERing with us, kassidy!
Want to perform a quick and easy psychological test on friends and family members? Grab a clear glass from the cupboard and fill it halfway with water. Place it on the table and ask friends and family members to describe it.
Some people will probably say the glass if half-full. Others may look at it and proclaim that it's half-empty. Since both groups would be correct, what does this test tell you?
Psychologists use simple tests like this to determine whether a person tends to be an optimist or a pessimist. Optimists will usually say the glass is half-full, whereas pessimists will usually point out that it's half-empty. Optimists tend to focus on the good: there is still water available to drink. Pessimists, on the other hand, see the negative: there is water missing from what otherwise could be a full glass.
Optimists tend to look on the bright side. They are hopeful and search for the good even in bad situations. Pessimists, on the other hand, tend to be more negative. While some pessimists will claim they're merely being realists, they do usually search for and find the black cloud behind every silver lining.
Optimists aren't happy all the time, and pessimists aren't unhappy all the time. Every person experiences a range of emotions — both good and bad, positive and negative — in a typical day, week, or month. "Happily ever after" only happens in fairy tales.
We all face obstacles. However, how we respond to those obstacles can make all the difference in the world. Optimists tend to see obstacles as opportunities. As a result, optimists who expect good things to happen will take actions that lead to positive results.
Pessimists, meanwhile, can be easily stymied by obstacles. When they expect negative results, they often fail to do the types of things that could've minimized or prevented those negative results.
Scientists who have studied optimism have found that those who see the glass as half-full tend to be happier, healthier, and even wealthier. But is it all just a matter of maintaining a positive attitude? Maybe not!
Some researchers now believe that your genes might play a critical role in determining whether you focus on the positive or the negative. In fact, recent studies have shown that there is a genetic component to whether one tends to be an optimist or a pessimist.
Even if you're genetically predisposed to look at the negative side of things, you can be more optimistic with some practice. Every negative situation presents the opportunity to view it in a different light. With a little effort, it's possible to choose to take life's lemons and make lemonade!