Success Mindset

Six Men and a Glass

Is the glass half empty or half full?

A very popular question intended to distinguish between Pessimism (who sees the glass half empty) and Optimism (who sees the glass half full).

However, there are actually four more gentlemen gathered around the glass, who are usually not mentioned, even though their points of view are very common and extremely important to understand.

Let me introduce you to these four gentlemen, and let’s see what they have to say about the glass in front of them.


While Optimism and Pessimism can’t see eye to eye because they are looking at different aspects of the glass, Realism is able to appreciate what each of his friends are seeing: he sees the entire glass, both the full half and the empty half.

His attitude isn’t skewed by half the story because he is able to see the full story, both its positive and negative dimensions. He is able to appreciate what there is, as well as to admit what is lacking. He can choose to feel contented with what there is, or aspire to fill the whole glass.

Optimism, Pessimism and Realism share a very important characteristic: they are all seeing the glass for what it is. What distinguishes them from each other is what they choose to focus on.

And this is what differentiates them from their other three friends…

Wishful Thinking

While Optimism, Pessimism and Realism are contemplating the contents of the glass, Wishful Thinking is jumping with joy that the glass is full!

It’s not full, but that’s how Wishful Thinking apparently “sees” it. Wishful Thinking doesn’t care much about reality. Sometimes reality is an inconvenience for human happiness, so he chooses to create the “reality” that makes him happy. In this case, it’s a full glass.

But this doesn’t change the fact that the glass is only half full, no matter how hard Wishful Thinking wants it to be full. From a distance, Wishful Thinking can remain contented that the glass is full, but he will be unpleasantly disappointed when he tries to drink from the glass.

Limiting Belief

Our friend, Limiting Belief, is sitting uncomfortably with his friends. He can’t seem to understand how they can see any water in the glass when it’s obviously empty! Obvious only to him. Obviously.

Limiting Belief doesn’t focus on the negative. He denies the positive. He dismisses the existence of a reality and, therefore, cannot come to appreciate it or make use of it. Limiting Belief could very well die of thirst by the side of a river, simply because he denies that the river exists!


While all his friends are facing the glass, Evasion is looking the other way. He’s fearful of what he might discover about the glass. Fearful of what to expect. Fearful of what the content of the glass would mean to him. Fearful of what the content of the glass would require him to do.

He, therefore, chooses not to look at the glass, or listen to what others have to say about it. “Ignorance is bliss,” and by remaining ignorant he doesn’t have to worry whether the glass is empty, half full or full. He believes he can go through life happily unaware of what the glass has to offer, and by directing his attention elsewhere.

While he doesn’t like to admit this, but Evasion sometimes feels compelled to find out what’s in the glass, and he chooses to drown those feelings with distractions. Alcohol is always a convenient choice, though he has sometimes tried out drugs to numb the feeling of curiosity and irritating consciousness.

The Six Men

I’m sure we can all relate to one of these men in different situations in our lives. We are sometimes optimistic, other times we are pessimistic. We sometimes face reality and sometimes choose to ignore it. We sometimes fool ourselves by inventing a new “reality” that brings us happiness, or a “reality” that confines us to what we feel comfortable with, while ignoring all the opportunities that exist for us, and the potential within us.

But for us to achieve happiness, it’s important that we:

  • Accept reality for what it is
  • Appreciate what we have
  • Use what we have to gain what we want

We need to befriend Realism, while being acquainted with his friends, and being aware of what influence they can have on our lives.

Success Mindset

Knowledge is NOT Power

I spent a great chunk of my adult life believing that knowledge is power, only to discover that this is not true. And as with many false beliefs, it contains an element of truth, but it’s not the whole truth.

To understand why “knowledge is power” is not true, we have to first understand the role knowledge is meant to play in our lives.

Knowledge is our way of grasping the nature of the reality we are living in and our nature as human beings. We seek to know, then to understand, not for the sake of knowing and understanding, but for the sake of discovering what we should do to effectively deal with our environment.

In other words, knowledge is a stepping stone we use in order to live proper lives, and it is impossible to bypass knowledge. There is absolutely no substitute for it.

But knowledge is not an end, but a means to an end.

It only becomes useful – and powerful – when it is applied through action. If it is not applied, it’s meaningless. The power of knowledge comes through its application and not in its acquisition. You can have all the knowledge of the world accessible to you, but if you don’t apply that knowledge into your life, your chances of survival – let alone success and prosperity – are minimal.

In fact, if you haven’t been applying any of your knowledge into your life, chances are you’re already dead 😛

If you want to win the lottery, knowing what the numbers are will not make you rich.

Knowing the numbers and BUYING THE TICKET will.

To be successful, you must rid yourself of the idea that knowledge is valuable for the sake of knowledge and look for ways in which you can apply your knowledge in order to enhance the quality of your life.

Success Mindset

Reasons and Excuses

Whenever we’re faced with a failure, we can have one of two default reactions:

1) Make excuses

2) Identify reasons

And there’s a world of difference between the two!

Making Excuses

Excuses are attempts we use not simply to explain why we managed to fail, but to justify the failure, as though it could not have been avoided.

The motive behind excuses isn’t to overcome the failure, but to not feel guilty about experiencing that failure. We do this by:

Blaming external factors (such as luck, the stars, the weather, our upbringing, etc)

Feeling helpless and, therefore, trying not to be held accountable for the failure

I remember several (come to think of it, many) occasions when I would go to work around an hour late. Whenever I would get stuck on a traffic light I would immediately think to myself (i.e. by default) that I was late because I got stuck on a traffic light.

This would explain a minute of my lateness, but what about the other 59 minutes?

That’s not a question for excuses to answer. That’s where reasons come in.

Identifying Reasons

When you set your mind to identifying reasons, you begin by trying to understand the reason for the failure, without passing judgment or looking for someone (or something) to blame. You simply want to understand.

Having identified the reasons, you take responsibility for your contribution to the failure and look for ways to learn from this experience for the future.

When going late to work, rather than scan my environment for excuses, I can look for the factors that contributed to my lateness: drinking coffee the night before, sleeping late, pressing the snooze button, pressing the snooze button again, taking a long time to get ready, etc.

I can then identify the ways in which I can eliminate these factors, so that I would not go to work late.

A person who aims to identify reasons isn’t afraid of the truth and is willing to accept his faults, so that he can overcome them.

A person who seeks to make excuses takes the truth as his enemy, because it might reveal something about him that he does not wish to discover.

To be successful in life, you can never create excuses. You must always find the reasons for your failures and your successes no matter how hard they are to swallow.

“There are a thousand excuses for failure, but never a good reason.”
Mark Twain

Success Mindset

Be A Success Story

Life involves both ups and downs. During the low points in our lives, we can lose hope of ever rising to achieve the goals we’ve set out to achieve. A single failure can launch a wave of ideas that lead us further down the same path, making it more and more difficult for us to recover.

We can label ourselves as failures, and not expect any more from ourselves. We can conclude that our lot in life is failure, and that we are destined to lead a miserable life. We can assume that there is something about successful people that we lack and can never develop.

Failure tends to produce rationalizations that justify the failure, rather than inspire thoughts on how to overcome it.

One of the ways you can overcome the Failure Mindset and replace it with a Success Mindset is to consider the experiences of those who have achieved success and acknowledge the many failures they’ve experienced on their way to success. You can then see the failures in your life as part of your very own Success Story.

Therefore, whenever you experience a failure, don’t think that this marks the end, but a step in the path towards your success, in the same way that other successful people experienced failures as part of their success stories. In most cases, their failures were not a distraction from their success, but a step towards it.

“Use stumbling blocks as stepping stones”
Brian Tracy

In the same way a movie with a happy ending involves many challenges for the characters, your life may include many challenges before you achieve the goals you want.

Imagine yourself having achieved the goal you want, look back at what you had to go through to get to the point you have reached. All the failures, challenges, obstacles, confrontations are part of your success story. Once you accept them as that, you can enjoy the success they will lead to.

“If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”
Thomas Edison