After two years traveling between coasts, I sat on a plane reflecting on all of the ups and downs in life which ranged from health issues of loved ones to everyday obstacles involved in pursuing your career while raising a family. I realized the impact of these challenges on my notorious and often annoying to loved ones “glass half full” perspective was that my optimistic soul craved a new approach. 

That’s when a friend and mentor of mine, presented a different approach by sharing that “it’s not a question of whether the glass is half full or half empty, but more about the size of the glass and what you ultimately need”.

Now what exactly does that mean?

Imagine you have a glass of water that is half full and you pour it into a larger glass which makes the larger glass look almost empty. Now imagine you pour the same water into a smaller glass and the water overflows. Each glass represents different perspectives and the water is everything going on in your life, such as obligations, stress, responsibilities, etc. This new glass approach illustrates how you can choose to focus on abundance and gratitude rather than scarcity, in order to change your outlook on the world and therefore change the balance of the glass size to water ratio in your life.

Going one step further, my friend encouraged me to ask the following questions every day:

1) How much do you think you need?

2) How much do you think you actually need? 

To illustrate second question, my friend and explained that “if you are only a little bit thirsty, it doesn’t matter if the glass is half full or completely full, because you only need a little”.

3) How much do you really need to be satisfied? 

The realization of what you really need should free you up to focus on the abundance of life versus scarcity.

As someone who feels most comfortable taking care of others instead of myself, this introspective daily gut check, helped me to keep track of my own barometer of needs which refreshed me so that I could support more people.

In the weeks that followed this revelation, I found myself discussing these questions with friends, family and colleagues. The results led us to all pause and look inward in a healthy and non-selfish way, without the guilt that can often accompany us when we take “me time”. By engaging in dialogues, we opened up to each other about our own needs and were able to recognize when we had room in our lives to take on more or if we needed a shoulder to lean on. 

This experience has taught me that everyone’s glass size is a different size and often varies depending on the day. Therefore, everyone’s ability to handle the same amount of pressure can vary widely.  I have been able to be a more effective support and adviser to friends, family, and colleagues because I have assessed my own glass size to water amount ratio. By contemplating how much I actually need to feel fulfilled, I have a greater understanding what people around me need.

This vital way of shifting your thoughts by focusing on abundance is counter to what we see in unhealthy cultures or people who focus on the scarcity mindset. When people focus on scarcity instead of abundance, they can act out of fear and insecurity which often leads to a loss of perspective. 

If you shift your perspective toward fulfillment, you will attract people who seek solutions and are generous because they are secure with themselves.

By asking yourself each day what size glass you need, you can be a positive force, because you will have a grasp of what will enable you to be successful and have more time to raise people up. I encourage you to maintain a perspective focused on abundance and actual needs, so that you are free to explore more ways to be fulfilled and make decisions from a place of gratitude and abundance.