That glass with water in it to a 50% capacity mark

There is almost always an opportunity to be unhappy. Life can be brilliantly beautiful and yet an individual can still choose to find how horrible things are or will become. I’m not talking about depression, but rather the poor cognitive habit that people can develop that turns them into pessimists.

Often, pessimists might claim they are not pessimists but realists. They understand the risks that may come in a particular situation and want to be cautious. They might feel that optimism is for the young, naive, and delusional. However, being realistic is an interesting claim to make, because optimism and pessimism aren’t about the facts but the interpretation and desire behind those facts.

If we were being realistic, the glass that’s either half full or half empty exists in a context. Maybe you filled it up to the top and have drunk half of it. If you want more of the drink, you’d be more inclined to call it half empty. If you wanted less of it, you’d be more inclined to call it half full.

There’s also social convention at play; how many people legitimately refer to a cup as half full? The statement may or may not actually reflect the optimism/pessimism of the individual who says it.

In order to be ‘realistic’, one has to acknowledge both the opportunities and risks with a course of action. A pessimist might miss the opportunity, an optimist might miss the risks. It’s rarely a boon to be on the extreme either way in the long run.

In some ways, the question of glass-half-full or half-empty is a question of trust. It’s an indication of how a person feels the world around them is worthy of their trust. Do they want to blindly trust others or shut themselves off? Like most things, the answer is somewhere in the middle.

However, my focus is on pessimism because people are rarely consistently too optimistic. It’s good to be careful, but fear can go overboard very easily. Gratitude is the best way to help temper our habits of becoming too shut down. Of course, things can go wrong. At least one thing always will, life is unpredictable. The truth of the matter is that we need to be careful in watching why we’re being careful.

Are assuming the worst because you are afraid? Are you assuming the worst because you’ve been hurt before? For those who claim to be realistic, are you actually taking probability into account, or are you making an interpretation separate from the stats?


risks and ladders

Honestly, it doesn’t matter if you haven’t done what you want yet. It doesn’t matter if you’re a wreck right now. It doesn’t matter, because it’s not the end. Every moment doesn’t feel like a new chance, but it is. Most of the time, the bars and limits we have are those we put on ourselves. If you want to do something more, you can achieve that.

It’s easy to think that couldn’t be the case. We think that if we want to go see a new movie in theaters, we have to go with friends. You don’t, you could go yourself. We think we can’t switch careers, because we wouldn’t even know where to start. Fine, you don’t know where to start, but knowing that means your first step is finding out what the steps are. We think that if we don’t stay or become a certain way, we’ll be alone forever. Surely, there is an importance to listening to what others have to say and heeding their advice, but at the end of the day, there is a line between listening to others and letting them rule your life.

Everything to this point matters in that it has built you up into who you are right now, but that doesn’t mean you have to play your hand out exactly like it’s expected. We are in a processing of growing, and its going to take a while to get to where we want to go. It’s terrifying to abruptly change, and there are many things that seem way beyond us– and that’s okay! Changing overnight is a difficult and natural thing. What is good is teaching yourself, step by step, to creep towards those goals of yours, pushing what’s comfortable for you. This moment is a chance. This moment too. If you don’t take it now, seriously ask yourself if you ever will.

finding the right words

We can say all the words we want, but communication requires something extra: the right words. If you don’t explain what you want to say in the language the other person understands, their understanding is going to be limited. By “language”, I mean the broad languages like English, Mandarin, French, etc., but also the smaller subgroupings within each of those.

Region could affect accent, the field of interest could affect terminology, the relationship the speakers have to each other could effect meaning and expression, but there’s even more than that! When we express ourselves, we need to be able to express an idea that they will be able to interpret as the same thing we mean. We need to speak clearly.

However, speaking clearly isn’t an easy skill to master. There’s a temptation to stick to the groups we know and are comfortable with because we are fluent in that group’s patois. In those settings, we know how to express ourselves and we know that when we are sarcastic, they’ll understand it as sarcasm. We can be funny, and they’ll understand the joke. But the problem with that is that people are different from each other. If we only stick to our little friendly groups, we deny oursleves. Talking to someone from a different culture is difficult. If you have similar cultures, or either of you are familiar with how to communicate, it becomes easier. It can range from semi-easy to incredibly difficult.

Yet if we push ourselves, talk to people we might be socially awkward around at first, we’ll get there. It might take months. It will probably take a lot of frustration for everyone involved. But that frustration will be worth it, because at the end of the day, you’ll be able to understand someone else just a little better. You’ll be able to see inside their head just a little easier, and that look may transform how you yourself see things. It’s difficult, but how many people could you learn from and have a wonderful time with, if you just put in a little more effort to understand them?

say, “joke’s on you, Life!”

April Fool’s Day is a glorious time for some individuals. They plan elaborate tricks, even months in advance, and launch them on the day it’s most socially acceptable to do so. Pancakes on the ceiling, plastic wrap, and vaseline where you least expect it on the day you most expect it. Rick and Morty famously released the first episode of their third season solely because most people thought it’d be a prank. However, there is a distinct line between those who love April Fool’s Day and those who hate it, and it mostly revolves around one’s opinions of pranks.

Not all pranks are funny, and even if the prank is funny, it can easily go wrong or harm the victim of the trick. It can hurt the trust in relationships. Or, it can be a bonding moment you tell fond stories of! Pranks are, in their essence, a risk. People who pull pranks tend to be more risky, reckless people because they are the ones willing to take the chance. What if the person you’re pranking gets so scared they have a heart attack? What if they get distracted and hurt themselves in the confusion? What if someone happens right before hand that causes them to be in a horrible psychological state? For those who prank each other all the time, or who can laugh things off easily, it’s just fun! The question, though, is if the one you prank will be able to see it like you see it, and it remains unanswered until you take the chance.

Life comes fast and hard. It pulls cruel pranks that no human mind could think up. Yet, if not with pranks, we need to learn how to take risks. We need to take chances. There will always be questions, but you’ll never get the answers doing nothing. We can guess how people will react, plan out things that shouldn’t harm anyone, and do our best to get at a specific goal. However, there always will be that place we can’t see, that jump we’re not sure we can make. Ask yourself, is this hesitation coming from my uncertainty in the goal, or from the uncertainty in myself? If it’s coming from yourself, you have nothing to lose. Either you’ll make it and be closer to your goal, or you’ll fail and learn what not to do. If it’s coming from your goal, keep searching! You can take risks any day, not just April Fools’.

picking a reasonable amount of battles

To Do lists are helpful for keeping yourself organized and directing your priorities. The problem is that it always seems impossible to get everything on them done! Even if you make a list with seventeen items and cross all seventeen off, as soon as you lay down your head, there’s the other task you forgot, bothering you before you go to sleep.

One of the strange parts of life is that we sometimes don’t see the opportunities given to us. Even stranger, it can be even more overwhelming to have too many opportunities. In one situation, you feel like there’s no way out, you’re stagnant m. In the other, it feels like you can’t split yourself into enough people to get it all done. By virtue of our limited energy and time, we can only do so much. Therefore, we have to pick a few things we really care about. For some, this selection is harder than others; what if you don’t know what you want to do? What if you want to keep your options open? What happens if you end up hating it and waste all this time?

Forcing yourself to do everything will make you miserable. You’ll be exhausted and end up hating all the things you are doing because they are what’s draining you. Even if you somehow managed to handle all seventeen seperate parts of your life, it would still be infuriating because you couldn’t give everything to every part. It is far better to commit yourself to something. You don’t even have to adore this thing, just like it enough to want to genuinely continue doing it. If you made the wrong choice, give yourself at least a month to make sure it really was the wrong choice. “Keeping your options open” sounds nice, but realistically, it means not putting in the effort that big goals require. Your options are open. If you are truly unsure about where to go, just go someplace! If it turns out to be a “wrong” turn, you can still learn and grow from that place. Life seems to offer either too many opportunities or nothing at all. All that you can do is whatever you can. Sometimes you have to make your own option, and that’s okay. Just cut down those To Do lists down to size and remind yourself that you’re doing your best. It is far better to do a little something every day, considering you can’t binge-study for every aspect of life.

Malaphors and unexpected consequences of life

Malaphors are mixed metaphors, blended idioms; one of the best known ones is, “We’ll burn that bridge when we get there” but there is also, “Our hard work is finally starting to pay fruit” and “An apple a day makes the horse drink”.

Malaphors are so fun because it’s unexpected. We are used to hearing certain words right after each other. In many ways, that’s how we approach life, as if every step is predetermined. Depending on what you believe, maybe it is. However, we don’t often know our destiny. At the very least, we don’t know the future. We can’t tell what it holds, only guess and approximate. We can either take that as frightening and live cautiously, without risk, or we can live. A life without risks is miserable. No matter how safe we like to be, without straying from the status quo, we bind ourselves to achieving less than our full potential. 

Language can break hearts, change people, make us angry, happy, every emotion there is! It’s an incredible tool that shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, there is still a place for malaphors. Life is full of dangerous things and obstacles. However, there is a time for putting yourself out there. Let life be unexpected and deal with it the best you can. Without learning, life isn’t really life at all. Afterall, if it looks like a duck, acts like a duck, and walks like a duck, make lemonade.