Tag Archives: positive views of life

Half Full or Half Empty? The Sergeant Oddball Way

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“Why don’t you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don’t you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don’t you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?” Sargent Oddball (Donald Sutherland) Kelly’s Heroes 

Some people look at a glass and see it half empty. Some look at the same glass and see it as half full. I like to look at the glass and its contents, and like Sergeant Oddball in Kelly’s Heroes I get tired when people are full of nothing but negativity.

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This is the classic paradigm posed by those who observe how people approach life. On the whole they are not a bad analogy regarding how some have a negative view of life and others a positive view of life.

However I believe that such an explanation is simplistic. Those that see the glass as half empty, though we view them as negative negative may still see something of value in the glass and even appreciate the glass itself. Those that see the glass as half full are presumed to be positive, however they too may be limited in how they see the glass and its contents. They may see the glass as half full but not fully appreciate the contents of the glass or for that matter the glass itself.

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That being the case I believe that there are some people that I have met that fall outside the prescriptive boundaries. I know some people who not only are negative, but obsessed with an almost nihilistic gloom about life in general, in particular with how life treats them. To me it seems that they do not see the glass as half full but find something wrong with the glass. In fact it seems to me that some people not only find something wrong with the glass, a flaw of some kind that makes the glass less valuable, unsightly or unusable, but actually believe that the glass poses a danger to them. The glass might shatter and send a shard of glass into their eye. Of course such things are possible but highly unlikely, but some people live their lives in such a manner and unfortunately their gloom and negativity impacts the lives of those around them, frequently the people closest to them who love them the most.

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Then there are people who defy the odds, people who appreciate the glass and place appropriate value to its contents. They are the people who can envision a positive future, people not content with the simple answer of seeing a glass as half empty or half full, nor any situation as inherently positive or negative. They are the people who can look at reality, appreciate the complexity and difficulty of life as well as sorrow and joy yet still see beauty and hope. It does not mean that they view life through the naive lens of Pollyanna, but appreciate life to its fullest, its joys and sorrows, triumphs and tragedies and still can find meaning in each event. They can find beauty and hope for the future.

They are considered many to be oddballs. However, I find oddballs to be fascinating and I know that some people consider me to be somewhat of an oddball so I am perfectly happy in trying to find meaning and beauty in all of life, even circumstances that which are less than ideal.

There are plenty of negative thinkers out there today. The Unholy Trinity of politicians, preachers and pundits often lead the way in poisoning the attitudes and perspective of people who are just trying to get through life, raise their families and work for a better future. I feel like echoing the words of Sergeant Oddball when told by Kelly (Clint Eastwood) about his seemingly impossible plan: “Crazy… I mean like, so many positive waves… maybe we can’t lose, you’re on!”

I like people like that and to all the anti-social types and purveyors of doom and gloom I say: “Woof, woof, woof! That’s my other dog imitation.”

Peace

 

Padre Steve+

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Filed under faith, Loose thoughts and musings, philosophy