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The Half-full Glass

by David DeFord

A few months ago a huge thunder and rain storm caused American Airlines to cancel my flight home from Dallas. I had been away from home all week and was anxious to get home to my wife Kathy.

To add to my aggravation, the airlines didn’t cancel the flight until I had already turned in my rental car. I was stranded at DFW with no car, exhausted and irritated.

As directed, I phoned the airline’s reservation center to arrange for a flight home the next day. My frustration grew as I sat at the airport, phone to my ear, listening to the on-hold auto-attendant explain how important my call was to them. Ten minutes passed, then twenty.

Finally, a real person came on the line and offered to assist me. I sensed that she felt as much frustration as I. Rather than venting to this poor woman, I chose to exercise patience. I made mention that they must really be busy with the storms plaguing the area. Near tears, she indicated that the last caller had cursed her savagely and harangued her for nearly a half-hour. She appreciated my patience.

The next morning, as I received my boarding pass, I found that the reservation clerk, responding to my simple compassion, had upgraded me to first class. As I sat in the extra-wide seat, drinking soda from a cup made of real glass, I reflected on the powerful effect of focusing on the part of the glass that contained the liquid, rather than the empty part.

Often our attitudes bring about the treatment life hands us. By our attitudes we can influence whether we find favor or victimhood.

We can see our challenges as defeats or as opportunities. We choose to see in others the best or the worst. We can look to the future with excitement and anticipation—or worry and stress.

Our “luck” springs from our expectations.

Several times a week, I walk the six-mile loop around a local lake. As I hike the beautiful trail, I use a stick and nail to pick up litter left behind by my fellow walkers. I scan to the right and left of the trail looking for tissues, wrappers, cans and bottles. I have become accustomed to looking for trash—I expect it.

Once I spied a clump of white up ahead—apparently several small pieces of paper. I was looking for trash, and I had found it.

However, as I neared the white bits, I found that the trash wasn’t trash at all. There lay dozens of small and beautiful white wildflowers.

We see what we expect.

When we look for the good in life and in others, we find it. We become more interesting and fun to be around, we find deeper intimacy, and we reduce negative stress.

Work on yourself. Notice your initial reactions to people. Must others prove themselves to you before you see their goodness? Notice your expectations for life? Do you expect good to happen to you? Do you look upon setbacks as “my luck” or as temporary conditions?

We attract to ourselves good or bad fortune—half full or half empy. Which do you prefer?


Related Quotes

"Something happens inside of us when we are courteous and deferential toward others. It is all part of a refining process, which if persisted in, will change our very natures." Gordon B. Hinckley

"The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind." Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

"Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure. The way you think about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it. You are overcome by the fact because you think you are." Norman Vincent Peale

"The optimist sees opportunity in every danger; the pessimist sees danger in every opportunity." Winston Churchill

"A great attitude does much more than turn on the lights in our worlds; it seems to magically connect us to all sorts of serendipitous opportunities that were somehow absent before the change." Earl Nightengale


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