One very hot and breezy summer day years ago in south Florida, my friend Sharon and I decided we would walk from the beach over to a small store that served yogurt. We needed a cool and refreshing pick-me-up and the smooth, creamy, cold yogurt was calling our names from across the street.
Sweaty, covered with suntan oil and grains of sand still lingering on nearly every part of us, we pushed open the door to the store and were greeted with a welcoming swish of frigid air.
Look at that line for the yogurt! I said to Sharon.
I guess everyone else had the same idea as we did, she replied.
We slowly inched our way up the long line until we reached the yogurt machine. It was self-serve with several sizes of cups beside it in which to put the yogurt. First of all, we had to decide which of the three flavors of yogurt we wanted. They all were tempting, so we decided to get a small cup of each. We also were taking a cup to my wife, Debra, who had opted to continue to lie on the beach instead of making the yogurt trek.
We each turned the crank on a certain flavor and, with a force neither of us had suspected, the yogurt flowed out in a long, snake-like shape. We hurriedly attempted to catch it in the cups, but soon realized there was definitely an art to skillfully dispensing frozen yogurt.
Round and round we moved the cup allowing the yogurt to totally fill the container. When we got to a place where we probably should have stopped, we decided -- since everything you could fit into that particular sized cup was a certain price -- to see just how much it would actually hold. Sharon began to hit the bottom of her cup of yogurt on the counter to force the contents further down. Not to be left out, I did the same.
Unbeknownst to us, our loud and out of sync banging got the attention of other shoppers and the person behind the counter in the small store. He looked at us with an annoyed expression on his face.
We continued until we had all three cups filled to the brim and, at any second, about to overflow. We carefully made our way to the counter to pay while everyone stared at us with looks that were somewhere between total surprise and outright horror.
When we reached the counter, the salesclerk didnt know quite what to say. He first stared at the yogurt that was starting to melt and drip, not to mention clearly about to spill out of its Styrofoam restraints, and then glared back up at us. We both felt like schoolchildren who had been sent to the principals office for doing something wrong.
Knowing he would have to completely clean up his counter if he tarried too long with the transaction, the man totaled up the three cups of overflowing yogurt, took our money and sent us on our way. Needless to say, by the time we reached Debra, both Sharon and I were a sticky mess.
This story came to me out of the blue the other day when I was preparing a recipe. The directions called for one-half cup of milk. The one-cup measuring cup was closer so I just grabbed it. I poured what I thought would be close to filling the measuring cup half full and then placed it on the counter to check. I squatted down so that I was eye-level with the cup and then spent a few seconds going back and forth trying to decide if I was close to being accurate. I poured in a little more milk and then looked again.
It would have certainly been much easier to have just found the half-cup measurer because I would have been sure. But this simple process of studying that measuring cup was actually reminding me of something much bigger. It prompted me to think about whether I considered the measuring cup half full or half empty.
Hmmm, I thought. This is an important lesson we need to keep close at all times.
Inside of us, we all have the power to decide whether our lives are half full or half empty. How we choose to see the situations that surround us affects the way we see ourselves. We can either look for the positive and see our cup as full and overflowing, or allow the negative part of the situation to win. Its our choice!
Ive always been the kind of guy who sees the cup as being half full. I try to think positively. But sometimes, even though I desperately try not to, the cup appears half empty.
Isnt it ironic that when we need a reminder to stay positive it sometimes comes to us in a simple everyday situation? For me last week, it came in the form of yogurt, measuring cups and whether something was half full or half empty.
I smiled as I remembered the way that delicious and refreshing yogurt tasted on the hot beach all those years ago. That decision was very easy to make. I knew the yogurt would be good so I filled my cup until it overflowed -- giving me more to enjoy. In life, that decision is sometimes not as easy to make.
Life is very complicated. But, just as with the yogurt, we should all seek to fill ourselves up to overflowing with positive thoughts and deeds and not give negative energy a chance. How we choose to look at anything is how it will be!
So, the next time youre up against a choice of whether your glass is half full or half empty, look at the glass as not only being half full, but overflowing!
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