Does it matter if the glass is half full?

People keep telling me I’m a natural optimist.  Well, the optimist in me says isn’t that better than being called a pessimist?!  Meanwhile I had a niggling feeling.  Work leadership have a way with words and a penchant for exactitude that is rubbing off.   So there are only so many times you can be pigeonholed as an optimist before it demands thought and attention.

After what felt like the hundredth comment in the space of a week, the frustrated pessimist who could see the difficult route forward on the project being discussed didn’t appreciate being called an optimist simply because I knew we would make it to the other side.  There was no choice, we had to succeed even though it wouldn’t be easy!

I contested being labelled as an optimist, but couldn’t vocalise why.  Then along came Victor Frankel (refer to my earlier post Venturing into the great unknown) who could eloquently explain what I had stuttered over.  Really, I am not an optimist.  I am the girl that wakes up excited about a brainwave during the night.  But hours later I wake up again to face the harsh light of day and all the reasons not to bother.  When I do push forward with that initial idea, it’s not through optimism.  It is through sheer determination and Herr Frankel’s sense of purpose.  Plus, clichés do get it right – once you’ve taken that leap and given something scary a go once, it really does get easier. Being surrounded by people who love to blaze a trail into the unknown certainly helps too. Expedition empowers people to try.

So, rather than being predisposed to half-full / half-empty tendencies, I wonder if it is your current level of determination and sense of purpose in the task you are facing that governs whether you drink up or top up?

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About @ngela

Unexpected Consequences is a blog by Angela Crowther, a young engineer working in the Built Environment. Currently supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering and UKRC's Ingenious program the blog’s aim is to raise awareness of all the exciting opportunities the world of engineering has to offer to hopefully stimulate others into joining the industry.
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