The term ‘glass half full’ is used to refer to an attitude of seeing the positive in a situation – in other words an optimistic outlook. On the flip side we have the ‘glass half empty’ attitude where one only sees the negative side of a situation – a pessimistic outlook. Are you a ‘glass half full’ or a ‘glass half empty’ person?
Being an optimistic person in a negative world is challenging but optimism is a choice. It requires us to work really hard at staying positive and taking others along with us. We need to change our way of thinking and ensure that we remain strong against the negative forces within our workplace or home. Being positive is also a natural motivator. For us to successfully negotiate our way through the challenges of our daily lives during this pandemic, we need to find things that lift our mood and make us feel more positive.
A good place to start is to recognise negative thinking and to see the difference between it and genuine challenges that can be managed. Constant negative thinking or pessimism is a roadblock in our path moving forward and we find ourselves not being able to see a way around it.
A pessimistic attitude can be very draining, and such people often find themselves sitting on their own in the staffroom as their colleagues don’t have the energy to expose themselves to this negativity day in and day out. Very often our attempts to discuss their negative approach are also waved off. If you find yourself being drawn into a negative situation, make an effort to remove yourself. Pessimism is also a choice – one that is not going to help you get through these challenging times.
I have found that focussing on what I am grateful for has helped me to keep seeing the glass half full. I try to find at least one thing every day that I am grateful for. I’ll admit that some days I have to dig deep, but there is always something. I’ve also found that it has made me look at my life with new eyes and I’ve realised that it’s really the small things that keep me positive. It’s an exercise that I challenge you all to put yourself through – you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you find makes you happy and positive enough to get through a difficult day.
Encouraging your colleagues to see the glass half full will improve the mood in your school and will make it a far more productive place. Encouraging your learners to see the glass half full will make them feel motivated and determined to keep on trying. Each time you acknowledge a learner’s effort, you top up their glass a little. This works particularly well with learners who are facing an uphill battle every day – in the classroom or at home.
Children are inclined to lose hope quickly and will give up trying for fear of failing in front of their classmates. By constantly encouraging them to reflect on what they have already achieved will make them realise that the glass is indeed half full.
Guiding others and yourself to see the positives in a particular situation will ground you and make you look at the problem sensibly, taking all factors into consideration. It also helps take the panic out of a situation which we all know just causes more chaos. Being overly positive and unrealistic can become a problem though, and people will find it hard to follow your optimism. Think carefully about how you approach and deal with what faces you so that this doesn’t happen. Always be realistic.
Helping others to see the glass half full means that you need to be a good listener too. Be aware of what is being said and done around you and be cautious not to let your optimism downplay a problem that someone else might view as very important. Rather help them to find the positives. You will be empowering them to see the glass half full and they’ll feel encouraged to start doing so on their own.
How about putting an image of a half full glass on the noticeboard in your staffroom as a reminder to everyone who enters to see the glass as half full rather than half empty. A constant reminder might do the trick and you could find that others start feeling more optimistic rather than bringing negativity to your staffroom every day. Remember, to encourage others to develop an optimistic attitude, you need to reflect this attitude yourself. You’ll be a happier person and a lot more pleasant to be around.
I leave you with this question: Is your glass half full or half empty? The choice is yours. Have a great week.
Jenny (on behalf of)
The Teachers’ Support Team, Principals Academy Trust