plantIn a recent article, I wrote about a new perspective on the "glass half-empty" metaphor, in terms of how it applies to our lives. The empty portion, as I said, represents the capacity you have for embracing new possibilities, so it is actually a positive thing.

But what happens if you have no "half-empty" space to grow into? After all, one of the most common problems dentists face is not having enough "space" to grow. Whether we are talking about hygiene capacity, physical space, or just having enough time to do everything that needs doing, for many dentists, it seems like there is never enough breathing room. They are not thinking about how to fill the half-empty part of the glass because, from their perspective, the glass is already over-flowing.

The answer, of course, is to take a good look at why you don't have a half-empty space to work with, and that means examining what it is that is filling your glass and what you can pour out.

Sometimes this involves a bold move in the practice, such as adding another hygienist so you can expand patient care capacity. Sometimes it is as simple as de-cluttering your office of those stacks of magazines you will never get to, so you can become more focused on what is important today. Maybe you hire an accountant to do the bookkeeping you have been managing yourself.

Or maybe you can find someone to take on some other mundane chores that add no value to your life and suck away your time. For instance, I realized long ago that I get no great satisfaction out of doing yard work around my home. So I hired someone to do that for me. The cost is modest, and I get to re-direct that time in ways that are much more meaningful to me.

The point here is that, while it feels good to be busy, you can't let yourself get busy to the point where you have no room to grow. If you do that, you have outsmarted yourself. The ideal life is one that leaves room for new explorations. In other words, an important part of leading a full life is having the courage to keep your glass half-empty.


Commenter's Profile Image Wayne Kerr
July 23rd, 2014
Great comment, as usual, Imtiaz! I really like your interpretation of the "glass half-empty" analogy and what it really represents (opportunities, not pessimism)! Your commentary reminded my of something business author Chuck Blakeman ("Making Money is Killing Your Business" and "Why Employees are Always a Bad Idea") recently said. Whenever evaluating a commitment of his personal or professional time, he always poses these questions: 1. "Is this the highest and best use of my time?" And, 2. "If not, how can I do this for the last time?" Thanks for your continued thought-provoking blogs, Imtiaz!