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Glass half-empty or glass half-full. How do you look at life’s challenges?
To be sure, there are some who are typically one or the other. But I think most people are in between; sometimes half-full, sometimes half-empty. We’re often half –full when it comes to encouraging a friend or colleague, but half-empty when it comes to ourselves.
I also think that for most people, half-full or half-empty is a learned choice. In other words, we can train ourselves to be one way or the other.
I remember starting out as the ceo of a non-profit organization. I talked about this problem and that problem. One day, a major donor and former board member heard me. He pulled me aside and this normally sweet and genteel man put his finger in my chest and said “problems are challenges and challenges are opportunities.”
It’s not rose-colored lens talk or denial. Rather, it’s a way at looking at difficulties. People don’t want to hear the leader simply re-state the problems. They don’t want Captain Obvious, they want Captain Possibility.
Every time I face the choice of Problem versus Opportunity, I can still feel the imprint of his finger, and try to make the choice to see opportunities not problems.