Half full, or half empty?

is your glass half empty or half full?

Is your glass half full or half empty?

Quite a few times recently I have been referred to as a “half full” person and I think that’s something I can take as a complement.   While being optimistic and hopeful, I believe this has some real tangible benefits which might be worth outlining”


I cannot prove this scientifically but I do believe people can make themselves ill by believing they are ill, or perhaps wanting to be ill.  I have seen this amongst some of the people I work with and it’s almost as if some might talk themselves into being ill and are wanting sympathy and understanding from those they meet.  In fact some people can appear to be constantly ill with one thing after another and relentlessly let every one know about it.

Conversely I think people can stay well and healthy by thinking in a healthy train of thought.  Likewise being positive and optimistic might help recovery from some illnesses or (and I cannot speak from any experience here) recover from operations and injuries more quickly.  Arguably some people recovering from serious situations might be more determined to recover and prove everyone wrong through being bloody-minded and utterly determined.

Now I know I have no evidence to back any of this up, apart from my own observations.  If you’re a Doctor or a medical type person, please feel free to correct me!   I am sure I’m being overly simplistic, but I don’t want to be.  Neither do I want to be glib or disrespectful to anyone.

Being a cyclist

Half empty, half full

Half empty, half full

Life is full of decisions.  A few people may have little choice and are forced into cycling through some kind of necessity.  Other people choose to be a cyclist for a whole variety of reasons (see 50 Reasons to be a Cyclist).

Could I argue here that people who choose to be a cyclist do so through being naturally optimistic and positive in their outlook?  After all, it would be so easy to think of reasons why you shouldn’t cycle on a particular day.  “Oh it might rain, or be a bit windy” might be heard by some and yet many a cyclist will totally disregard these things and go ahead anyway, in preference to using another form of transport.

There are times when it has been pouring with rain and I have decided to go for a what-the-hell bike ride or a run, just for the fun of it.  On one level that might sound ridiculous and yet you’ll have to believe me it can be fun, memorable and exhilarating at times.

And then there is the unexpected.  You never quite know who you might meet or get to know.  Even though you might be cycling over familiar routes there is always the chance of something new and different happening.   Plus there is always the option of looking out for a new lane or road that you’ve never cycled down before.

Typing this has caused me to remember the time, last summer, when I cycled to work in Stevenage one day.  Now I am fortunate in having many different routes which I can take and there is a network of little country lanes around my part of the Hertfordshire / Bedfordshire border.  I am still getting to know these lanes and on this particular day I deliberately had no map and decided to do some exploring on my way home with some “where does this go?  I wonder what’s along here?  I bet there’s a nice view from the top of that hill”.

Problem solving

Cycling does bring up a whole set of challenges and problems.  Are these obstacles?  Or are these challenges which need to be solved?

Are they challenges about mechanical things?  Many modern bicycles are a bit on the fragile side and do need a fair bit of attention.  I ride one bike for 99% of the time and there always seems to be something needing attention.  This is general maintenance rather than dealing with a breakdown and it seems this is far more than with my car.  If I have to do anything with my car in between the 10,000 mile services, that troubles me.  And yet a bicycle in that time would need tyres, brake pads, a chain, cleaning etc etc.   But these are not problems.  Taking care of a bicycle is enjoyable and gives good results.

Questions of fitness can be seen as opportunities to improve fitness and health.  Surely no one disputes the immense benefits from cycling?

So, are cyclists naturally “half full”?

I am a cyclist.  I believe I am naturally “half full”, optimistic, sees good in people, likes people, likes new experiences (but not quite everything!).  I’d like to think this is a common trait amongst cyclists.

Am I right?


Cycling in East Africa

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4 Responses to Half full, or half empty?

  1. Half empty here EXCEPT when out on my bike. Then my world shines. And it’s not a honeymoon period thing unless honeymoons last 50 years! Maybe we are all naturally happier when exercising.

    • doug says:

      Hi David
      You’re a few miles ahead of me, I haven’t quite been a cyclist for 50 years but not far off!
      Yep we can get a dose of those lovely endorphins while exercising – cycling included – and end up feeling good afterwards.
      And I’m looking forward to being able to say “I’ve been a cyclist for 50 years”. You must have clocked up so many miles over the years…

  2. Paul says:

    All in all cycling is a great way to refresh you mentally, bodily and spiritually. for most it means less need for doctors and medications which fog your body. Its clears the cobwebs from your mind and freshens up the brain ! For me the best part is finding pathways away from car traffic and sometimes they are hard to find but well worth it when you do. Great blog to read. Nearly as good as cycling itself !

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