Xeno Hemlock


How to See the Glass Half Full

(NOTE: This story happened in December 2013. The original version appeared in my old, and now closed, website.)

Last Saturday while on a queue waiting for the gates of Scream Park Manila to open, I was playing around and dropped my iPhone 5 on the rocky ground. My friend and I giggled as my less-than-a-year-old phone fell on its face on the rough concrete. I picked it up with a grin on my face but when I saw the LCD, I learned the consequence of the fall.

The screen was damaged. The phone was still working but as I swiped on the touchscreen, I felt bits of glass on my fingers. I thought, “Oh shit.” And that was it.

If we were in the year 2006, I would’ve been so pissed. My evening would be ruined. I would be cursing the universe for bestowing upon me such bad luck that I did not rightly deserve. Instead, I proceeded to laugh. My friends laughed too. We took a photo of the phone, and of the phone and me next. One of them put an 'L' hand on my forehead to brand me a “loser”. But it was 2013, not 2006. I put my phone in my backpack and faced the night with no worry about its fate.

Instead of seeing the glass half empty (or the LCD half broken), I chose to see the glass half full (or the LCD half "not broken"). How did I do that? What follows are some tips to help you do the same.

Accept the fact that shit happens. 

It happens to me. It happens to you. Yes, it happens more to some than others but it happens to everyone. No one who asked the universe why got any answer back. The universe could be implementing a random algorithm on who to strike with bad luck. It could be playing favorites on humanity. The fact is that we do not know why. Shit happens and there’s nothing we can do to absolutely prevent it.

Smile. Giggle. Laugh. 

Absurd, you may think. How easy it is to smile, giggle or laugh on good situations. The challenge here is to smile, giggle or laugh during bad times. It’s very easy to frown, get mad and curse at everyone in sight. @@Easy doesn’t help us grow. Challenges do.@@ Poke fun at the situation and you win. Nothing hurts a harbinger of bad luck than letting it know it doesn’t affect you negatively.

Be a "loser". 

We have all been made to believer that being the winner is everything. We feel we should be getting all the good things only. We feel we should always be on top. When we’re not, we tend to magnify the predicament and our self-entitlement reveals its ugly head. Life is a wheel. Cliche, we know. We cannot always be perfect. We make mistakes. We can't be always the winner. Sometimes, we fill the role of the "loser". When our turn to be the winner comes, we will cherish it more after knowing what it feels like to not win. 

Focus on the solution instead of the problem. 

“I should’ve gripped my phone tightly. I shouldn’t have taken it out. I shouldn’t have played around my with friends and settled into a borewhore in the queue.” I could’ve laid out a hundred reasons or excuses on how I could’ve prevented the situation but I didn’t. What’s done is done. There is no Undo in life. There is no Rewind button to start over a moment. The problem has arrived and will not go away. Instead of dwelling on the problem, focus on finding a solution to it instead.

I called a couple of people who worked on my phone’s carrier company right away, discussed what happened, and asked them if there was any warranty or assistance my mobile carrier could give me. When they couldn't provide any solution, I went to a repairman the following day and had my screen replaced. Easy!

Surround yourself with like-minded thinkers. 

As the years passed, I cut off negative people out of my life. It wasn’t an easy process and you had to be mentally tough to do this but keep in mind that you control your life. When you keep company with pessimists, negative Nancys, and miserable people, their attitude fogs over you and you become like them. Horrible, right? But if you spend more time with upbeat, positive and go-getters, you will acquire the same attitude and mentality.

Run away with the good. 

Lessons go beyond the four walls of the classroom. Lessons do not have to be always deep. Any good thing we take from our experience, over the bad, is a lesson we keep with us for life. The next time a similar situation presents itself, we then have an idea on how to deal with it. It makes us grow. @@Mulling over the bad things will not make the clouds above our head go away.@@ However, if we run away with the good, the sun will welcome us with open arms.


The next time you hold a glass, I hope you see it half full, unless you decide to fill it with more and more and more until it overflows.

The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.
— Marcus Aurelius