It doesn’t matter if the glass is half full or half empty, just that it is being filled up – No importa si el vaso está medio lleno o medio vacío, sino si se está llenando
For decades we have used the example of the glass being half full to distinguish optimists from pessimists. If you see the glass half empty, that is because you tend to see the negative things in life, because you have a grey perspective of the world. If you see the glass half full you prefer to focus on the positive aspects and if you are one of the few people who state the glass is half and half, well you are someone who makes objectivity a priority, who can see the two sides of the coin.
However, what is true is that this perception of the glass is very typical of the western mentality. We love to establish facts, break things to see how they are made and divide reality up into sections to come to “scientific” conclusions. It isn’t our fault;we have been taught how to see what goes on around us just as if it was a series of photographs that have been frozen in time.
Obviously, reality isn’t like that, reality is continually changing; everything that surrounds us turns into something else and is moving. In fact, our static vision of things is one of the main causes of our fears, worries and emotional imbalances. Not being capable of accepting change and the uncertainty produces a great deal of insecurity and anxiety, which we are not capable of dealing with.
The experiment that revealed our categorical thinking
A fascinating experiment conducted by psychologistsfrom Michigan University and Hokkaido University revealed that we tend to group objects together into “categories”, while people from Eastern cultures tend to group objects in terms of “relationships”.
Asian and American students took part in the study. They were all given a series of photographs in which they had to choose objects that could match each other, as shown hereinafter.
What goes better with the bull? Take a minute to think before you answer.
The majority of the Americans chose the “chicken” because they included both of them in the “animals” category, just like the best part of us would do. Nevertheless, most of the Asians chose the “grass” because they focused on the relationship between both: “the bull eats grass”.
This experiment, which forms part of a series of very interesting studies, shows how the culture affects our thoughts, it tells us that we tend to focus on the objects, their properties and categories, as if they were immutable things. In contrast to this, the Eastern culture gives priority to the relationships, the context and the environment.
Embrace movement it will help us make better decisions
Of course, both categorical thinking and relational thinking are important, it cannot be said that one is better than the other. However, just looking to see if the glass is half full or half empty means limiting oneself to accepting a fact. Nothing else. This enables us to take a snapshot of the current situation, but it doesn’t help us know how to plan ourselves in the future.
In our everyday lives, without realising, we behave in this way. We limit ourselves to establishing facts, without noticing the movement. Therefore, we only see part of the reality and, what is even worse;we overlook the part that would precisely enable us to make good future decisions.
When do we use categorical thinking?
– Whenever we draw fixed conclusions about people or situations that we are in.
– Whenever we limit ourselves to accepting a fact, without trying to look for the causes and without trying to imagine what could happen next.
– Whenever we are victims of the stereotypes, which we label and we behave as if this was absolutely true.
– Whenever wecriticize and judge, without coming up with a solution or a possible way out.
– Whenever we think that a problem has only one cause and only one solution.
To really improve our life we should take a step further. We shouldn’t limit ourselves to seeing whether the glass is half full or half empty, but rather we should ask ourselves if, as things are, there are more possibilities apart from whether it is filling up or whether it will end up empty. Only in this way can we get a more complete picture.
In everyday life, we usually let the things that have occurred, the categorical thinking, determine our decisions. We let a mistake of the past determine the whole of our life. Nevertheless, what we really should do is focus on the future and try and imagine how it will be and what we can do to improve it. If we just look back at the past and accept one single fact, we limit our point of view, just as if we spentour whole life looking at a photo. When we look into the futureand we can see things as a whole, and moving, there are endless possibilitiesawaiting us.
Source – Fuente: http://www.rinconpsicologia.com
El experimento que puso al descubierto nuestro pensamiento categorial
Abrazar el movimiento nos ayudará a tomar mejores decisiones