We get so entrenched in our own perception, that we come to believe it is reality. It is the only reality that we know. Should someone challenge that reality and say, “I see it differently,” we can even be a little incensed. How dare they? I see life the way it is. They see life the way they are … or so we believe.
I was wallowing in my own misery. It’s tax season, I had broken my arm, everything just seemed to be a little out of sync, and I was hating it. I was sowing the seeds of negativity and I didn’t even know it. Normally, I think I’m a pretty positive guy, but I had brought my wife to tears, and the rest of the family wasn’t very happy with me either.
So we started a little game where every time I started traveling down a negative path, a hand would shoot up and the observer would call out, “Negative.” Then it was up to me to stop what I was saying and try to shed a more positive light on it.
“You are going to try to go there on Thursday night? You know it is supposed to snow again.”
The hand pops up, “Negative.”
What?!? I thought I was just trying to deliver an honest forecast, and help by forewarning you of some impending doom … oh, never mind, I see what you are saying.
Interestingly enough, we had a presentation at the office a couple of days later on the happiness factor. Some lame brain’s idea that successful people are not happier, happier people are more successful. In a video, Shawn Achor discussed the Tetris effect. You know that game where people have to form a straight line as shapes drop from the sky. In an experiment, people who were forced to play Tetris for five hours in a confined space found themselves doing strange things like lining up the bread on a grocery store shelf after they left the experiment.
Now Mr. Achor had the gall to make an analogy of this to a tax manager who spends all day looking for errors in tax returns and then might go home and find nothing but errors in the way his wife keeps the home. As a tax manager, I deeply resented that. Nothing could be further from the truth … or could it?
So now I am a little bit more conscientious about seeing the glass half full instead of half empty. Of course, my son the engineer sees the glass as completely full, half with water and half with air, but we will leave that to another blog.