I strive to walk my talk and engage in learning opportunities wherever I go. Getting my hair cut at Hair Masters one day presented an opportunity. In this Key you will find the half full insight that showed up for me as I was getting my haircut.
Half Full Is Easy
Chrystal has my reverence, as most hairdressers do, simply because she stands on her feet all day at work. She tells me that after work she relaxes by playing soccer. Even before I sit down, she begins the conversation. Clearly Chrystal can teach me a lot about social skills. I don't need to ask her what's going on before she starts sharing. She is a master at making use of the captive audiences who sit in her chair. I know I will offer her nothing less than the full measure of meaning and value.
Here is the conversation that transpired:
Chrystal: "My children visited with their father this week and came back today. I'm always glad to get them back."
Aviv: "It's good for children to see that adults can choose to go their separate ways without hating each other."
Chrystal: "I agree. I have to work hard at it. I want them to be able to tell me what they did with their father. I always worry about them."
This is the turning point in the conversation: Should I get involved and bring new material into the conversation, or not? It's easier for me to listen to Chrystal than to bring myself into the conversation, but on this occasion I decided to take the leap.
Aviv: "My parents separated when I was four. It was 51 years ago, and at that time divorce was quite rare where I grew up. By the age of six, I had decided that my situation was an advantage rather than a predicament because I was able to benefit from both worlds."
Chrystal: "I wish my kids would have this attitude. But it's just so hard."
Aviv: "Not really. At age 7, I realized that we always are making up a storyline for what's happening around us. It occurred to me that I could make up a half-empty or a half-full story. For me, the half-full story worked better."
Chrystal: "That's great. But most people don't see the world that way. For them, it's hard to see the full half because they see the empty half."
Aviv: "Do you know why people prefer to focus on the empty half?"
Chrystal: "It's a lot easier to see it."
Aviv: "Yes. The half empty story provides an alibi. As long as you choose the half empty story, you can keep the excuses that it affords you. People instinctively know that focusing on the half full means giving up their excuses. We each have to choose: What do you love more, your excuses or your opportunities?"
Chrystal: "That's a difficult choice."
Aviv: "It's not. Look at you. You stand all day. That's difficult. I could not do it. It's actually easier to give up the excuses and take responsibility for the half full perspective. You don't have to define yourself by your story of hardship. You can choose to form your identity on what you've been able to do and overcome."
Chrystal: "I wish we all could think like this, especially my children."
Aviv: "Tell them that they can. Tell them you love them the way they are and that they don't need to hold on to half empty stories to get more of you. Tell them they are better off loving the half full world than the half empty one. Tell them the secret of life is that whatever you focus on uses your energy to grow. It gets magnified with the attention you bring to it. When you focus on the half empty, it too continues to grow and you get a larger and larger empty; but when you focus on your half full, it grows and you get a larger and larger full."
Chrystal: "You made my day."
Aviv: "You made my day as well."
My haircut was done and I tipped Chrystal double because she helped me reclaim a lost childhood moment from my unconscious mind and triggered the half full insight.
Now it's your turn. Turn the key. Teach your family and teams to focus on the glass half full. Encourage them to experience the liberating power that becomes available when you release old excuses and choose to embrace the opportunity in front of you.
© Aviv Shahar