Monday, 14 January 2013

Life is like a glass of water...really!

Well, this is the topic i'd prepared for a public speaking competition earlier this month.

Just wanted to share it here...

' Life is like a glass of water'. 


Water is a free-flow entity which needs a vessel to contain them. Without it,'ll be wet! Some people had said life to a glass of water. It is interesting to know how they relate it together. There are few anecdotes which details this and below I'll share 2 of them.

A chemistry professor decided to teach his students a different lesson one day. Holding a glass of water in his hand, he asked the students,  “How much do you think this glass of water weighs?” 

“1/2 litre!” came a voice from the back. “1 litre,” said another student. 

“Well, even I don’t really know!” said the professor, holding the glass up to make sure everyone could see it. “And unless we weigh it, we won’t know.” With the glass still in his outstretched hand, the professor continued, “What will happen if I hold it like this for a few minutes?”

“Nothing!” came the reply. 

“Right, and if I hold it for an hour like this, what might happen?” 

“Your hand will begin to hurt,” said a student.

 “Indeed. And what would happen if I held the glass in my hand like this for 24 hours?”

“You would be in tremendous pain,” said one student. “Your hand will probably go numb,” said another.
“Your arm will be paralysed and we’ll need to rush you to the hospital!” said a student on the last bench.

“True,” said the professor. “But notice that through all this, the weight of the glass did not change. What then causes the pain?”

The class went quiet. The students seemed puzzled.

“What should I do to avoid the pain?” asked the professor.

“Put the glass down!” said a student of the floor,

"Well said!” exclaimed the professor. “And that’s a lesson I want you to remember. The problems and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. But think about it a bit longer and they begin to hurt.  And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralysed – incapable of doing anything. It’s important to remember to let go of your problems. Remember to put the glass down!”

We may not have been in that classroom that day, but it’s  a lesson we would all do well to remember. Put the glass down! 


It’s not just problems and worries. Sometimes, we feel hurt and betrayed by a friend. And we carry that grudge through our lives. It grows and causes us anguish and pain. Learning to forgive – and forget – is not just good for the other people, it’s great for you. 

It is the same with our fears too. A failure or an incident in early childhood becomes a deeply entrenched fear over time. Fear of public speaking, fear of rejection. You name it, and chances are, we have it. Someone gave us that glass to hold when we were little kids – ‘you are no good, you can’t do it’ -  and we have faithfully held on to it all our lives. ‘I can’t’ - becomes a thought that stays in our mind and grows – leading us to complete paralysis. Time to put the glass down!

Another anecdote is to compare my mind to a glass of water.

It’s small, mostly transparent, and limited in capacity. I can add water to the brim of the glass, but once it’s full it can no longer fit any additional water. Instead, it just spills over the side of the glass and runs all over the table. In the same way, my mind is continually filled with bits and pieces of information – thus when new information is added, the old tends to spill out.

Does this sound familiar?

A friend asks me to stop at the grocery store on my way home. I can do that. While I successfully make the stop to pick up bread and milk, I subsequently forget to stop at the bank and post office. It’s as if my mind was filled to full capacity and could no longer add anything additional.

Pouring out your glass. In order to truly relieve the stress on your mind, you need to empty the glass of water. In order to do this, you need to have a system you can trust. You probably can think of examples of how you do this in your own life. For example, have you ever put your keys next to the door at night just so you ensure they are not lost in the morning? By doing so, you have created a system you trust and probably did not add any “what if I lose my keys” stress to your sleep that night.

There are hundreds of ways you can structure your system to make it work for you. If you have a smartphone, learn to use the calendar or reminder features. Use posterboard to make a plan for specific tasks. Perhaps even buy and carry around a personal notebook planner. Whatever your system is – make it yours and learn to trust your system.

Hopefully by reading this you'll learn something relevant to your life. Stop stressing around. Instead, take your time and tend to it. It's better for your mental health.

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