Is The Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

The pessimist believes the glass is half empty and the optimist sees it as half full but the insomniac stays up all night trying to decide the answer.

This is an amusing twist on the classic expression normally used to show that any given situation can be looked at optimistically (half full) or pessimistically (half empty). The expression is so well-known that personality types are sometimes referred to as ‘glass half-full’ or ‘glass half-empty’. In other words, different people can perceive the same situation in different ways.

Before a colleague told me the insomniac version of the phrase, the most amusing variation I had ever heard went something like this:

While the optimist and pessimist are arguing, the pragmatist takes the glass and drinks it.

After doing some online searching, I discovered there are many variants of this expression. Here are some of my favorites:

  • The project manager documents that the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
  • The existentialist wonders ‘what’s the point of the question?’
  • The economist lets market forces decide how full the glass is.
  • The obsessive compulsive checks the level of the water, checks it again, and again, and again…
  • The lush doesn’t worry about half empty or half full but rather who is going to pay for the next round.
  • The IT support person doesn’t answer the question but suggests you try emptying the glass and then refilling it.

Of course, you can create endless variations to fit specific professions or circumstances. Given the current fascination with unicorns – venture capital backed technology companies valued at $1B or more – I thought I would create a version for them:

The entrepreneur says: I can’t believe no one has come up with an app that solves this conundrum. This is a huge, untapped market. I’m going to raise a $50M seed round with a $200M post and create the next Big Data Internet of Things cloud security unicorn.

I’m sure you can come up with some creative examples. Post them in the comments.

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9 Responses to Is The Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

  1. Timo Elliott (@timoelliott) July 26, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

    Engineers, of course, know that the glass is always full – half liquid, half gas…

  2. T.Redd July 26, 2015 at 7:37 pm #

    Glass half full or empty is a special brand awareness program that re-establishes a brand in full ways or half ways (additional support tools). This HALF F/E is a special set of cloud based tools integrated with patented algorithims that monitor customer feedback, purchase patterns and social network traffic. HALF F/E is on its second round of funding and is hotter then a Unicorn perched on a storm cloud…

    Get HALF F/E and change your business….!

  3. Dan Wellers July 27, 2015 at 5:16 am #

    The politician waits for the opinion survey.

  4. Innova Leadership July 27, 2015 at 12:34 pm #

    The post-modernist will dispute any one that conjectures to know either half-full or half-empty. We must measure, analyze, and discuss. Even then, another post-modernist will deconstruct the results.

  5. Benjamin July 27, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

    I prefer:

    The Pessimist says the glass is half empty;
    The Optimist says the glass is half full:
    The Sales Rep says “Let’s talk about ice”.

    Source: Google.

  6. jdunnett July 28, 2015 at 6:48 am #

    The focus group leader says, “Are you happier with it being half empty or half full?”

    The CMO says, “That’s going to be the best water you’ve ever had!”

  7. Mira Peneva July 29, 2015 at 7:33 am #

    ‘Technically, the glass is always full – half with air, half with water’ – Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory. I guess the important question is: What the glass is full with? It is all about the contents…
    So, the open-minded person would say: “Look, there is a unicorn in the glass” 🙂

  8. Wawan Saputra August 23, 2015 at 10:11 pm #

    It doesn’t matter if the glass is half full or half empty.
    What matters is whose glass is it?

  9. mussawer December 10, 2015 at 10:37 pm #

    people in society have thier own opinion, but we shall rather go along with social behaviour of society, but not rather over views being suppressed. be changer not optimistic.

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