10 Ways to a Better Life (From a Glass Half-Full)


I started this blog on December 25, 2005 as a lark; a friend of mine had showed me his Blogger account a few days before and I thought “cool, a place to put your thoughts“.

So on that particular Christmas day I decided to establish a place to put my thoughts.  But it needed a name- something that would give a very strong hint about where I’m coming from.

Immediately I thought of a discussion I once had with a friend who “lamented”  to me after a semi-argument about something that “you always look at the glass half-full, don’t you?”

Ah yes, that’s me.

And there it was,  the name of the blog – “Ramblings From a Glass Half-Full

Here’s what I wrote on my first post about what I now call “Half-Fullism“:

“Call me an eternal optimist, call me a fool, but I find it’s the best way to live one’s life with the least amount of angst. I hate angst.”

I later more pithily defined the term this way (and it’s right up there on my home page above my picture) –

“Dealing with the literal world in a favorable way”

That’s been the underlying theme of this blog from the get go, and over the past 43 months I’ve shared many observations and musings about life, love and the pursuit of happiness (otherwise known in the blogging world as “personal development”).

Call me a “Lifehacker” – trying my best,  on the fly,  to discover and document an instruction manual for living.

And with a few hundred posts behind me,  I can assemble what I believe to be the 10 most important lessons, and ease the challenge of sorting through them yourself to figure out where this Starbucker guy is coming from.

Here they are – 10 favorite life lessons from a glass half-full, in reverse chronological order – click on the links to get the full lesson:

  1. First, Find Out What You “Signed up to do” – Take the time to reflect on what you believe are your 10 best qualities, and write them down. Stir vigorously, and then apply them, every day.
  2. Life Requires Trust – because as  Henri Nouwen once said, “Nothing alive is the same from moment to moment. To live is to face the unknown over and over again.”  This, I learned from a chance reading of an obituary of a 78 year-old who loved his simple life.
  3. Watch Out for the Under Toad! – Don’t let the accumulated weight of thoughts of the past and future “pull you under” the present, to where what’s going on at that very moment is of the least importance. (Thanks to John Irving and Garp for the inspiration here).
  4. Never Stop Dreaming –  Elvis reminded me of this through a powerful song, “If I Can Dream” from his ’68 comeback special.
    “But as long as a man has the strength to dream, he can redeem his soul and fly… (lyric  by W. Earl Brown)
  5. “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things”This line from the movie  “The Shawshank Redemption”  has stood the test of time for me for the message it tells us all about the power of the human spirit. Because no good thing ever dies.
  6. Always Stop and Learn from Mistakes – I’ve developed a 4-step approach to do this – Acknowledgment, Correction, Learning, & Rear-View Mirror –   because our ability to take positive things out of the errors we make is critical to making our life’s journey a fulfilling one
  7. The Last Hurdle to Happiness is YOUSometimes the hardest thing is to simply accept the fact that we can be, or are, happy.  We all too often back away when we near that threshold, as if we don’t deserve it.  Yes, we do.  Go for it.
  8. We CAN Make a Difference in This World – I know, heard that before, right? But I have proof, with these three words (thanks Chris Garrett) – Chicken Tikka Masala.   Go here and see what I mean.
  9. Make Fear Your Friend – Think about the times you got over the hump and conquered fear.  Remember how good that felt?  Yes, there is a “Joy of Fear” -ask a few mountain climbers. I’m not advising you to climb K-2, but perhaps you could take the advice of the retailer Lululemon – “Do one thing a day that scares you“.
  10. Never Grow Up, Never Give Up, and Earn Your Fulfillment – This is my triptych on the “Secret of Life” – three posts, linked together, as a life mantra.  It really summarizes the way I wish to live each day of my life.   Keep the child-like aweBe persistent in achieving my goalsAnd find fulfillment in earning them.

One last thing – I offer my grateful thanks to all who have led me to these lessons. This blogging journey has been one of the biggest surprises of my life – who knew a “lark” could end up like this?

Yours in Half-Fullism,



  1. says

    Great post Terry! I love the way you’ve incorporated a nifty graphic in too. I remember when most of these posts when live on the old Blogger account. You’re much more dashing here!

    Looking forward to diving back in to reminisce again with you!

  2. says

    Read the Book on Defensive Pessimism?

    I had a colleague who would lecture on optimism, then I would follow with a lecture on Defensive Pessimism.

    Students would come afterwards and say, TG, I thought I had to be an optimist.

    I also had tips for optimisits and defensive pessmimists to work together.

  3. says


    Those are ten great tips. Thanks for sharing them.

    One of the reasons I’ve gravitated to your blog is because of your ability to deal with the literal world in a favorable way. You have a unique ability of sharing you insights and teaching others how to do the same. I could so see you and Nouwen having dinner together and sharing life streams!

    #6 reminds me of David Armano’s acronym of ABL, Always Be Learning. I would also add one more that you do consistently: Always remember the golden rule: Give first! If you forget to give, you become extra baggage in others’ lives.

  4. says

    Thanks Jeff, Jo and Phil for your comments! I’m grateful for the chance to share my life’s learning, and I’m looking forward to putting more lessons on these pages in the months and years to come.

    All the best,

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