Glass Half Full/Empty Analogy-Optimism vs. Pessimism, S vs. N, or something else?

Glass Half Full/Empty Analogy-Optimism vs. Pessimism, S vs. N, or something else?

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This is a discussion on Glass Half Full/Empty Analogy-Optimism vs. Pessimism, S vs. N, or something else? within the Myers Briggs Forum forums, part of the Personality Type Forums category; Most of us have probably heard the "Is the glass half full or is it half empty?" analogy before. For ...

  1. #1
    ISFJ - The Nurturers

    Glass Half Full/Empty Analogy-Optimism vs. Pessimism, S vs. N, or something else?

    Most of us have probably heard the "Is the glass half full or is it half empty?" analogy before. For me, every time I've heard it, I've heard it as a representation for an optimist vs. a pessimist...an optimist would focus on the fact that they have of the drink/liquid left viewing the glass as half full, and the pessimist would focus on the fact that half of it was gone, viewing the glass as half empty.

    But the thing is, since the two are the exactly the same statement, it's possible that both are simply objective viewpoints of the same situation, and neither one is the "positive" or "negative" viewpoint. Or maybe either view could be viewed as positive or negative.


    But I was wondering if type could be related to this at all instead. I know I'm stretching a lot here, but I just wanted to throw it out.


    First off, it's not necessarily that the liquid in the glass is decreasing...maybe we're looking at filling it up instead?

    If this was the case, then maybe an S type would view it as half full. They might focus on what's already been done...the fact that half of it has already been filled. I say this is S for two reasons: (a) the liquid is real/tangible, so they don't have to imagine it, and (b) like I mentioned, the process is filling the glass...so this is a focus on the past or on the present.

    An N, on the other hand, would be looking to the future, or the work that still needs to be done...they're picturing filling the glass to the top, so they're imaging the big picture goal. They're already thinking about what could be done to finish the job, rather than what's already been done.

    I say this because it kind of came up in another thread...and it shows that someone who views the glass as half empty can actually have a more positive/optimistic viewpoint than the person who views it as half full...or at least one doesn't have to be more pessimistic than the other.


    Of course, this is all a little different if we think about the glass being emptied rather than filled...in that case, I don't know how the S/N viewpoint might work. And it might even be possible that it can go in both directions at the same time...more can be added to it or taken away from it.


    Anyway, I just wanted to throw that out there, because sometimes I feel like we make assumptions about people's viewpoints or intents that aren't really there. I've recently found out that sometimes I do this more than I realize.

    And like I said, I know I'm stretching to make it type related, but there's no harm in throwing the idea out there, right?



  2. #2
    Unknown Personality

    ummmmm...I am not certain of myself by way of type(like the rest of us) yet when previously presented with the question,my response was "Half Empty" which i suppose is perhaps reflective of my affinity for thought in which all things are incomplete and are ever within the process of "becoming" as well many other factors that i cannot account for because they are subtle yet impactful upon my person as to prove elusive,yet present.......anyway,I believe one's response to be reflective ultimately of one's personal being,thus the answer "Half empty" or "Full" to possess in principle the content of one's unique person,not a preference for rather "N" or "S".........though im curious, if presented with the glass might your response be similar indefinitely to the projected "S" types in which you respond "half full"?

  3. #3
    ENTP - The Visionaries

    What about the third option, that it's 100% full, half air and half water? :O
    Nomenclature, L'Empereur, darksoul and 7 others thanked this post.

  4. #4
    INTP - The Thinkers

    I've heard the analogy before but I always get distracted wondering what exactly the glass is half full of. You know that could change everything.
    'It's a glass of piss and it's half full! Yay!'
    Nomenclature thanked this post.

  5. #5
    INTP - The Thinkers

    I doubt S/N plays much of role in determining one's level of optimism or pessimism. N's might be thought of as optimists because they can go beyond the obvious to see positive possibilities and potentials outisde of what might be thought of as a "bad" situation. On the other hand, they could use their intuition to think of negative possibilities and imagine things that could go wrong that are highly unlikely to happen or don't have much basis in reality. So who knows?
    Nomenclature thanked this post.

  6. #6
    INTJ - The Scientists


    Are you pouring the water in, or pouring it out? What about that?

    All honesty, I have a hard time seeing one's answer to that question as indicative of much at all. It's like when my mother said that calling something 'not warm' rather than 'cold' was a sign of being negative. I told her that was false, she called me negative, and I said 'but I didn't say 'not true' which by your logic means I am a positive person' and I was grounded. Ah, family.

    I can see it as expressive of one's tendency to focus in on the good stuff versus the bad stuff, but to me that isn't pessimism/optimism, necessarily. I think that would only be true in the context of a person whose emotions were regulating what they say - but looking for the negative can come from other motivations, as can looking for the positive. I would see someone threatened by the negative as more of a negative person, for they make it out to be something terrible, something to be avoided.

    Also:

    There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who, when presented with a glass that is exactly half full, say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!

    -- (Terry Pratchett, The Truth)
    heartturnedtoporcelain and teddy564339 thanked this post.

  7. #7
    ENTP - The Visionaries

    Sorry but... I don't think that makes any kind of sense. It sounds almost like you're comparing T to F, instead of S to N. Also, both statements you made are completely subjective. Allow me to revise:

    If this was the case, then maybe an S type would view it as half (empty). They might focus on what's already been done...the fact that half of it has already been (taken away). I say this is S for two reasons: (a) the liquid is real/tangible, so they don't have to imagine it, and (b) like I mentioned, the process is (drinking the water)...so this is a focus on the past or on the present.

    An N, on the other hand, would be looking to the future, or the work that still needs to be done...they're picturing (drinking) the glass(...), so they're imaging the big picture goal. They're already thinking about what could be done to finish the job, rather than what's already been done.


    Tada. As you can see, sensing and intuiting are both ways of gathering information about something, but neither one determines the end conclusion the person will come to - in fact, if any function can have an effect on the overall conclusion, it's Thinking/Feeling, as they can determine what basis someone uses for their conclusions.

    I agree that saying the glass is "half empty" vs. "half full" doesn't necessarily mean someone is optimistic or pessimistic. However, Freud would say that the language a person uses portrays how they're thinking. For instance, maybe you're feeling very cynical, very empty inside, then you would tend to say things in a more negative tone, including using negatively associated words like "empty." To me, this is a ridiculous way of telling whether someone is being pessimistic, but it tends to work with extremes - people who are feeling extremely happy tend to use positive words, while people who are feeling extremely upset or cynical tend to use negative words.

  8. #8
    ENTP - The Visionaries

    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor Swift View Post
    What about the third option, that it's 100% full, half air and half water? :O
    I imagine that would be considered very optimistic. xD Whereas my answer, that it's over 99% empty since the space between the atoms is enormous, would probably be considered pessimistic.

  9. #9
    ENTP - The Visionaries

    Quote Originally Posted by hziegel View Post
    I imagine that would be considered very optimistic. xD Whereas my answer, that it's over 99% empty since the space between the atoms is enormous, would probably be considered pessimistic.
    You have smart aleck 1 upped me, touche......touche................

  10. #10
    INTJ - The Scientists

    Quote Originally Posted by Van View Post
    I've heard the analogy before but I always get distracted wondering what exactly the glass is half full of. You know that could change everything.
    'It's a glass of piss and it's half full! Yay!'
    An NT opening her mouth.

    If in a business a profit X is made. The optimist would think that not only did he not lose money but actually made a tidy profit.
    The pessimist would focus on that (with hind-sight) the profit could have been 2X so there's a lose of X on that business.
    The point I'm trying to make: By all means try avoiding the second kind. They'll always be complaining and if you don't stay clear of them, they'll make your life miserable as well.
    Van thanked this post.


 
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