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  • Sugimoto Shoujin

Half Empty vs Half Full

Have you ever had bad days, where one bad thing happened and everything else started to annoy you? Have you had moments where you feel like nothing will ever work out for you? Are you one of those people who feel that you don’t have enough of everything?

We all experience this and it is completely normal. We have our ups and downs, and during our low moments, we feel pessimistic and during our high moments, we feel like we are capable of tackling the world on our own.

The Effect of Priming

Ever heard of the term “I woke up on the wrong side of bed”?

Priming refers to how exposure to one stimulus affects your reaction to another stimulus. Remember that one time you watched a horror movie and everything on the way home scared you? You start overthinking about that suspicious man walking past.

In other words, we see more of what we hear, see and think about. Think about bad things, you see more evil than good. List out the things that you are grateful for, and you set yourself in a better mood.

Half Empty

Many people go through life with a feeling of constant lack, an insatiable want for more, be it happiness, excitement or recognition. When conditioned from a point of lack, we start to notice more of what we are lacking, which reinforces our idea that we don’t have enough.

We have all heard of that one parent nagging at their child for not being disciplined enough, responsible enough, or achieving enough.

Half Full

These people go through life with a strong courage to accept whatever good or bad things happen in life. They gently accept whatever weaknesses or shortcomings they see in themselves, others or in life. They are optimistically solution-oriented and figure out what they can do to change their situation instead of wasting time complaining about it. They feel joy for simple things such as having food and a bed to sleep in.

We create the reality that we live in

Based on what we choose to speak, hear, look at and spend our time and energy on, we slowly shape our reality without our knowledge. A half full person is certainly a much healthier, productive and positive person. He views life from the perspective of what he has and focuses on his strengths and tries to expand his area of potential in his day-to-day living.

Can we shift our perspective?

As humans, we have a high potential to change. With the right strategy, purpose and with action, we are able to change our habits, beliefs and behaviour. There are various studies about Neuroplasticity and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), we have sufficient reason to think that our perspectives can change. Studies have also shown that Emotional Stability and Extraversion are traits that are commonly modified.

How do we change our perspective?

The fundamental healthy belief to have is that we are responsible for our lives to a large extent. If we shirk responsibility, we are not inspired enough to do things differently. That being said, there is an effective 6 step process.


As much as we can take self-actions, we need to consider our environment as well. For even the most disciplined person is shaped by his environment to a large extent. Notice cues that are not serving you, such as being around people who have different goals and priorities from you, or being around negative people with no desire to challenge themselves.

Set up your living space so that it is conducive for you to carry out your habits, for example, clean up your room daily if you want to feel stable.

Some Effective Skills

  1. Ask yourself what you want, instead of what you don’t want.

  2. Stop and take deep breaths

    1. Notice when your mind wanders off into unhealthy places. Often, thoughts are far from reality so learn to become aware of your thoughts and take breaks when you have to.

  3. Form a self-concept

    1. Shape an idea of the type of person you would like to become and demonstrate the desirable values. Eg. Courageous, disciplined, kind, generous.

  4. Talk it out

    1. Speak to someone who can provide an alternative perspective that you cannot see by yourself.

  5. Think/care about others

    1. Many mental illnesses are worsened by increasing concern for oneself. Stop the habit of idealising yourself and your life and learn to be valuable for others too.

The ultimate goal is to become a half-full person with a bounded optimism and solution-based attitude towards life. With the right action steps as well as a proper environment, let’s take baby steps towards changing our life outcomes together.

Have a great week ahead!

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