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Half full or half empty

All our knowledge has its origin in our perceptions.
Leonardo da Vinci

The way we perceive things makes a big difference. I was feeling really bad yesterday because I hadn’t met the goal I had set myself – to have my first draft of my research completed by 1 December! This morning in the shower (yes, again it came to me in the shower) I suddenly realised there was another way of looking at the situation. I am actually at least 50% further on than I was a matter of weeks ago. I have written thousands of words, I have done a lot of thinking and re-reading, and some clarity is starting to emerge. So why am I beating myself up because I am not where I had hoped to be by today?

If I was truly creative I would turn this situation around. It is all about the way I perceive this situation. I need to create a new perception by focusing on the success achieved and leverage this to keep moving forward and achieving the ultimate goal. Perhaps I set myself an unrealistic goal in the beginning. Did I set myself up for failure?

So is my glass half full or half empty?

According to Peter F. Drucker perception and mood are key factors in finding innovative opportunities. Describing a glass as half full or half empty, has vastly different meanings:

Changing a manager’s perception of a glass from half full to half empty opens up big innovation opportunities. A change in perception does not alter facts. It changes their meaning, though – and very quickly. It took less than two years for the computer to change from being perceived as a threat and as something only big businesses would use to something one buys for doing income tax. Economics do not necessarily dictate such a change; in fact, they may be irrelevant. What determines whether people see a glass as half full or half empty is mood rather than fact, and a change in mood often defies quantification. But it is not exotic. It is concrete. It can be defined. It can be tested. And it can be exploited for innovation opportunity.
Drucker, P.F. (2002, August). The Discipline of Innovation. Harvard Business Review.

Here is another view of this concept of how full is your glass.

The glass is always full, it just depends if you want the glass to be full of air or water.
Four Groups blog

In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey writes that the way we look at the problem is the problem. He comments that Albert Einstein observed:

The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.
(Page 43)

I need to, and more importantly want to, change my thinking. How do I turn this around?

Is the glass half full, half empty or is it 'becoming'?I am now more than half through writing up my research. I am ready to start analysing my data. There is still a lot to do. However, I am a lot clearer about what I am trying to achieve and how I am going to go about it. Huge progress has been made. Yippee!!!!!

My glass is neither half full nor half empty. I have decided it is in a permanent state of ‘becoming’. After all what will happen when it is full? Does this mean it is all over? For one project maybe, but in the bigger scheme of things aren’t we always striving for more. Flow is not about stopping at a particular point, it is about always moving. The pace is not continually the same but there is always movement of some kind. Once I’ve finished my Masters (and by the way, I will finish) I want more. I have plans.

In the morning my husband and I leave for Brisbane. I am attending the Ascilite Conference. I have also been involved with a poster accepted for this conference. A conference blog has been set up where my colleague and I will be able to engage in a discussion with anyone who is interested in pursuing the topic of our poster further. I thinkthis is quite innovative and I haven’t come acroos this before at the conferences I have attended.

My husband Lynsey and I are both attending a workshop as following the conference being facilitated by Helen Barrett at Queesnland University of Technology on e-portfolios and digital storytelling. I am really excited about this. In between all this ‘working’ we hope to be able to spend some time together just being – something we don’t get much time for these days.

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3 Responses to “Half full or half empty”

  1. on 02 Dec 2005 at 11:41 am Anonymous

    The glass begins empty. Then you fill it. Therefore, the glass is half-full.

  2. on 02 Dec 2005 at 11:57 am Marica Sevelj

    Is anything ever truly empty? Is anything ever created empty? I believe we add the emptiness imagery. It comes naturally to us.

  3. on 05 Dec 2005 at 10:21 pm Anonymous

    You are denying your senses. Denying our senses does not come naturally to us. Does a mouse looking for cheese in an empty mousetrap imagine that the trap is empty?

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