“Is the glass half empty or half full?”
Google the phrase and you’ll see Wikipedia places “half empty” in front of “half full.”
Interesting. Why is the wording not, “Is the glass half full or half empty?”
This idiom promotes a way to explore differing worldviews and illustrates how people can see the same situation, differently. What recent story of “differing views” comes to your mind?
When it comes to goals and opportunities we tend to think using two perspectives:
- What do I have to lose?
- What do I have to gain?
According to research dealing with the psychology of motivation your ability to step out of your comfort zone into your safety zone is at stake.
What happens if you focus on what you have to lose instead of what you may gain? Fear of loss will lower your risk-tolerance and therefore, you desire to “go for it.”
Prevention or Promotion?
In their new book Focus: Use Different Ways of Seeing The World For Success and Influence, Tory Higgins and Heidi Halvorson describe how being promotion-focused (What do I have to gain?) or prevention-focused (What do I have to lose?) impacts our success.
When you are prevention-focused, you want to stay safe, avoid mistakes, and fulfill your responsibilities. You want to hang on to what you’ve already got and keep things running smoothly. You aren’t open to taking chances, even when that chance is a chance for happiness.
Promotion focus is about getting ahead, maximizing your potential, and reaping the rewards. It’s about never missing an opportunity for a win, even when doing so means taking a leap of faith.
(H)aving a promotion focus leads to speed, creativity, innovation, and embracing risk, while having a prevention focus leads to accuracy, careful deliberation, thoroughness, and a strong preference for the devil-you-know.
Less Fear, More Action
What does it take for you to support your success with action?
If I may take you back to my home improvement story; as I approached replacing the stair treads I thought about what I would gain (money saved, upgrade to hardwood floor with savings, and pride of “I did that…”) I was free to make the decision and “go for it” … a promotion-focused success.
When it came to the stair rails I thought about what I could lose (time on a deadline-driven project, money if I messed up the expensive stair parts, and reputation if I failed to acknowledge my limitations.) I was free to make the decision and delegate … a prevention-focused success.
What if I’m stuck?
Pressured by the pace and demands of life, how much of your decision-making is “unconscious?”
Furthermore, the fear of leaving a comfort zone encourages an overuse of prevention focus; thinking too much about what you might lose.
Boost your ability to take risks and “go for it” by thinking more about what you might gain.
Now, for your free assessment:
Is that glass half full or half empty?
Here’s to your next level…