The glass may be half full, but it sure as hell ain’t half empty!
Reading the Ben and Rosamund Zander incredible book, the Art of Possibility, I realized recently that this seemingly age-old example, that so clearly divides the pessimists from the optimists, is nothing more than a distraction from the real, meaningful questions.
There is a glass.
It’s half full.
Why? I don’t know.
You are asked to decide if the glass that you see, or metaphysically behold within your mind’s grasp, is half full or half empty.
If it is half full you are an optimist, if half empty, you are a dejected pessimist.
But let’s hold on for a moment.
Clearly there is some water in the glass and there is the glass, but how to you behold, measure, evaluate and embrace nothingness?
If you believe the glass to be half empty, you draw a line in the sand, and disappear into futility and absurdity. You place yourself on the side of something that doesn’t exist.
The same holds true for the word nothing. The word is an illusion because it is a placemat for everything that doesn’t exist. But if it doesn’t exist, then certainly it doesn’t need a placemat, because we never need mention or think about it again.
Welcome to the linguistic cluster stank.
I think we need a better question. A better analogy and a fresh metaphor.
What if we were asked if we would bring a fish finder on our boat, while we angle our way to some Large Mouth Bass or a Muskie?
How would we answer?
If you would bring a fish finder on your boat, you are concerned with catching a big fish. You want to measure your experience.
As a sense of pride, investment, or just because you’re hungry, you will judge and evaluate your day based on what is in your belly or in your fridge.
Catch nothing, and it was a wasted trip. Catch a lot, and you will return over and over again.
If you don’t bring a fish finder, or even leave the boat at home, and simply cast your fishing rod into the lake or river, you are going to measure your experience by something else.
You are probably with someone, or are seeking peace and solitude on your own.
There is nothing to measure and judge.
Being surrounded by nature, being close to the water, enjoying your home-made sandwich, and your thermos tea, gives you validation why it is wonderful to be alive. How great it is to be human.
The same can be said of swimming.
If you are Malcolm Phelps, your goal is to swim the fastest from one end of the pool to another. You chase gold medals. You are satisfied with silver and bronze. You feel dejected if you don’t make the podium.
If you are a competitive swimmer, you judge your day by the strides you have made or lost. You base your happiness on a measureable outcome.
If you put on your board shorts on the other hand and go surfing, or you dawn a polka dot bikini, and head to the ocean for a swim, you involve yourself with something completely different.
There is nothing to accomplish by swimming in the ocean. There is nothing to do. Nothing to find. Nothing to conquer. Nothing to regret and push towards.
It’s just you and the ocean. United at last. Happy and glorious.
So, drink your glass of water because hydration is good for you.
Grab a snack and head to some water.
Stop judging your day, begin to imagine the possibilities!