Is Your Glass Half-Full or Half-Empty? | The Science of Happiness

Is Your Glass Half-Full or Half-Empty? | The Science of Happiness

Participant 1: I was in the police academy
and I got injured. Participant 2: My grandpa has prostate cancer.
Participant 3: I lost my dad in January of this past year. Participant 4: On April 19 I faced a life threatening surgery,
which it caused me to be paralyzed and my major concern was that
I could not walk again but as you see, I am
here and I’ve got work to do. Julian: Glass is half full. Could have been
worse. Look on the bright side! When life knocks you down, these are the things you
hear people say. There’s no way what they’re telling could actually be helpful could it?
Well buckle up, because psychologists have found that a substantial amount of your happiness
in life is determined by your ability to focus on the positive. We gathered a group of volunteers
who experienced a significant and sometimes difficult life event in the past year. First
we handed them a test to gauge their current level of happiness. Now, in order to be super
scientific, we split them into two groups, a control group and a variable group. Now
what about that control group. Well, we asked them to think of something they had no opinion
on whatsoever. They didn’t feel too strongly about it one way or the other. And then, we
asked them to share that story with us. P5: I found apples to be rather neutral because
they don’t really taste particularly good or bad.
P6: I think the color yellow is a nice color. People like the color yellow because it looks
very nice and that’s all I had to say about yellow. P5: I think they’re rather bland
and fairly innocuous looking They’re cheap to purchase
which helps to make up for the rather obvious lack of flavor.
P7: The feeling I get when I watch a show that I think is just okay when I really don’t
want to watch it is a feeling of not wanting to be there. I want to get up and get ready
to go. P5: I think overall the pros and cons of this
fruit tend to balance itself out when you compare it to other fruits and hence that
was why I chose this fruit, apple. Julian: For the variable group we brought
them in, sat them down and asked them to think of a recent time in their life when they experienced
something positive. Maybe something they achieved, something good that happened to them, something
good they did for somebody else. The idea was to put them in a positive state of mind.
We asked them to focus on the details and three strengths that they had. Of those three,
we told them to choose their biggest strength and tell us a story that showed off that quality
of theirs. Would you mind reading for us what you wrote?
P3: Yeah sure. I wrote, I have a top notch quality of caring and being sympathetic with
those people close to me. P4: I have a talent for and the gift for helping
young people who don’t like school. Helping them to become intelligent and enjoy learning.
P1: The one quality I like most about myself is that I am very caring towards other people.
I do a lot of volunteer work, which is good for the person in need and lifts my spirit
immensely. P8: My strongest strength is my knowledge.
Not only because it’s a tool I use on a daily basis, but also because it’s a tool that helps
me get myself out of a lot of trouble. P2: My favorite part of my personality is
basically my self motivation. Because when a lot of people doubt me and tell me I can’t
do stuff, I just take the stuff people say I can’t do and use it as motivation and prove
them wrong in the end. P4: Well one thing I ask everyone to do is
to be your authentic self. Stand up and be who you are no matter what. What you think
of me is no concern of mine. P1: I deliver for the meals on wheels program
at the senior center and I love seeing my elderly recipients each week. They truly light
up my day and I don’t feel complete without giving them a big hug and making sure everything
is okay with them. P3: Recently a friend of mine, his father
also died and I was able to come together and help him with his mourning and with his
understanding process of death. And to let him know that you are not alone and it hurts
like hell but you’ll get through it with the help of good friends and that’s what life
is all about just overcoming and advancing. P2: Well my uncle was doubting me calling
me dumb and stuff like that and then they were telling me I wasn’t going to pass the
California High School Exit Exam, I was a dummy, I was a failure and other stuff like
that. But then I passed it so that was when I just realized that all the doubts that people
give me, I just use it as motivation and just use it to keep going on.
Julian: When they were finished we had them take another test. After they finished we
measured their happiness again to see what kind of effect the positivity exercise had.
Now keep in mind, our findings show an instantaneous increase in happiness. Changes ranged as high
as 43% increases in happiness and drops as low as 31%. For those who did the exercise
we saw a much narrower range. For some people happiness went up 18% and the lowest drop
was as little as 6%. So, maybe instead of focusing on your weaknesses, you should focus
on your strengths instead. What are your strengths? When was the last time you really got to show
it off and use it? Let us know in a video response We’ll do something awesome with it.
I’m Julian, and this has been The Science of Happiness. SoulPancake,

Daniel Yohans

100 thoughts on “Is Your Glass Half-Full or Half-Empty? | The Science of Happiness

  1. nikkielliott08 says:

    Just watching these videos makes me happy!!

  2. Lili Krayer says:

    My strength is fighting off the pain everyone brings to me every once and a while

  3. Jess C. says:

    I just posted this video in one of my discussion posts for school. As a student of mental health, it's important to find moments of positive psychological changes outside of school materials as well as in class discussions. I'm so happy to have found SoulPancake's Science of Happiness videos as wonderful examples of positive reinforcement 🙂

  4. Zaki Ti says:

    Plz dont end dis program

  5. Carlos Moreno says:

    only 66k views… not good. SoulPancake really deserves alot more.

  6. youjustgotsheeped says:

    Hi SoulPancake! I absolutely love all of your videos, especially this series. This year I have to do a science fair project and I want to do it on what affects people's level of happiness, but my teacher said unless I have a way to measure somebody's level of happiness and record the change I can't do the project. I was wondering if you could tell me what test you use to find your volunteers level of happiness before and after your experiments. It would be a huge help! Thanks!

  7. 06shibuya says:

    1620 people love the video
    27 people dislike the video
    just wonder, different opinion from like and dislike people vote about this video

  8. GrMattPro says:

    I had a hard time watching, because something about the host was freaking me out… :-/

  9. Jocker Mon says:


  10. WINX Studio says:

    This guy is adorable.

  11. Marc says:

    "obvious lack of favor" What? Don't eat the wax apples! Those are just for decoration.

  12. Lulu says:

    how do you measure happiness???

  13. Jane Barlow says:

    I am a beginning teacher next year- each of your videos have given me something to think about when I working with young people. Happiness will be a huge part of our learning!

  14. hidden says:

    3:02 she is absolutely gorgeous.

  15. Kris Brujic says:

    that guy just needs to eat a good apple

  16. Irishdarrenodea says:

    Call me racist all you like,but my favourite is the black guy:)

  17. Miss Amber Nyoni says:

    Always think positive! What I like about myself is that I've grown to place God before anything and everything! 🙂

  18. Logan Tritt says:

    Can we keep one shirt color please.

  19. Inez Nijland says:

    My guide to happiness!

  20. Megan Ruth says:

    thank you

  21. Nick Powers Music says:

    "My most strongest strength is my knowledge." SMH

  22. Matt Ellis says:

    Happiness is directly related to the amount of bacon there is. 

  23. littlewolfy111 says:

    I'm wondering the same thing as Lulu. How are you guys measuring these peoples' happiness levels?

  24. Alaa kamel says:

    I wonder if there is a "the science of finding your strengths" video?

  25. john merks says:

    The guy in the red shirt is a old friend of mine. I remember him form back in middle school. He was always a outcast and coped with pain and depression by hiding behind a smile and laugh. Its cool to see he has over came some of his challenges.

  26. Jarrod Clark says:

    I love to motivate, encourage and provide inspiration. Check out my motivational videos for inspiration. Please Subscribe!!! 🙂

  27. TheMillyVanilly says:


  28. Tylor Kucsmas says:

    "My most strongest strength is my knowledge" oh my….

  29. Tawna Michel Dabney says:

    How can I be a part of this movement (other than living in love every day)… Just wondering….

  30. ColourlessRose says:

    thats all i have to say about yellow – i laughed so much at that line

  31. Minie Boisvert says:

    I think I have a crush on the scientist dude.

  32. Reema Ameer says:

    happiness is a perfectly fluffy pancake topped off with maple syrup, butter, and enjoyed with someone special. if you miss one of the accompaniments, it's not really happiness.. it probably is something else

  33. Zeke WhiteCat says:

    Can Kids Do This?

  34. Kash says:

    UMM Julian's shirt keeps changing color when he's first talking?????????????

  35. Fidel Obadha says:


  36. Yukei Ng says:

    What is the test that you give to your participants to measure their level of happiness?

  37. Aglaya Sh says:

    Such a great channel! Such a great project! Keep going guys! And many Thanks for sincere videos!

  38. lena sun says:

    Damn that apple opinion tho

  39. lolanr01 says:

    Julian's ears make me happy. They're CUTE.

  40. Anika Grace says:

    Oh my gosh "And I've got work to do." in the beginning is so perfect.

  41. theaugustshowers says:

    hey Julian! you make me happy 🙂 Love <3

  42. Jackie G says:

    Subscribed! Great clean programing that's interesting. #subforsub  

  43. IlIlIlIIlIlIl says:

    hey people who were brave we thank you,, I suposse for restoring the fait, as perceived you have our gratitude.

  44. Floristsdot Com says:

    Focusing on the positive is the best way to learn how to show gratitude. This is how you change your life.

  45. Santiago Rodriguez says:

    Hey, I've always been curious about this "Test to Measure the Level of happiness" You guys have mentioned it in several of these videos. Could I take it? is it available somewhere? Hahah I'm just curious, lol.

  46. Jordon Dierker says:

    MAN!, this guy is good at is job he is smart!!!!!!

  47. Ferdinand Alexander says:

    Bullshit! The demand for happiness is making you feel unhappy. Much like the demand peace creates war. As long as you know happiness you will experience unhappiness. If there was a way for you to step out of that dualistic thought structure you'd have no way of knowing what happiness is and thus you would never know unhappiness.

  48. Katia Lei says:

    I love the guy that wrote about apples!!! 😀

  49. Amanda Hoekstra says:

    I like your video's

  50. AntiCaesar says:

    Mine's completely empty.

  51. Katie Shumway says:

    The girl at 3:00 is so beautiful! I couldn't look away from her gorgeous green eyes.

  52. SAVE THE HUMANS says:

    My glass is not a glass its more like a grail made of Oreo cookie with the frosting swirled through it. And its so full of abundance that it cannot contain all of it. its not half of anything good or bad. it just is, and its beautiful.

  53. SAVE THE HUMANS says:

    whatever it holds, I am grateful for it all.

  54. SAVE THE HUMANS says:

    you guys are awesome. hands down, the best channel on You Tube.

  55. Trainer Popplio says:

    I just look at the glass and think who the hell drank from MY glass

  56. LawfulSurgeon says:

    The glass is half full, let's say empty=0 and full=2. 0/2=0. 2/2=1. Math

  57. Mr Vampire says:

    I thought the glass was entirely full of equal parts of air and water. this video has made me reconsider that the glass is only half full. Now I'm only half as happy as I was…

  58. Shaswata Shaha says:

    yellow reminds me of coldplay…I am listening to yellow by coldplay now

  59. Eiman Elsir says:

    +Soul Pancakes can you show me the survey you used for this experiment. I would like to try it out myself please !

  60. Maria Cunha says:

    the glass is twice as big as it needs to be

  61. yolanda suciati says:

    It motivates me. Thanks soulpancake!!

  62. BeauJames59 says:

    Thanks for the videos……….

  63. Warnaka Dias Pannilaratne says:

    what a wonderful channel mann !!! <3

  64. Don't Eat Soap says:

    I really like these people, they're inspiring for me. I really really do like them.

  65. teresa ypil says:

    Happiness is a choice.

  66. Diamonds 009 says:

    THE SECRET OF MY THIS "I" ………………..

  67. Chris Anne says:

    Thank you for this video, I loved it! 🙂

  68. Italiana 7 says:

    omggg that asian guy is so cute yepppo omo omo

  69. Gigi Simbajon says:

    Scientifically speaking, I'm actually learning moral values from his experiment.. I think my glass is neither empty nor full, he he KEEP IT UP!!!

  70. pumpkin Charlie says:

    that guy about apples is a magician , i need him to comment on all other fruits

  71. crazynfreaky9.9 says:

    This might sound weird… but the host is definitely a Julian.

  72. Ariadne Georgiade says:

    "But as you see I'm here and I've got work to do"😢💞 yaas girl😢💓

  73. Anabella Sol says:

    am i the only one Who see the science guy's t-shirt switching colours? when the camera IS far the t-shirt is blue and creen, but when It became closer It IS blue and light blue! i'm cea.

  74. Sara Spencer says:

    May we use this video to teach junior high students in Granite School District, SLC, Utah about positive thinking. I am a school social worker putting together a presentation.

  75. Zombihilanth says:

    why is everyone foaming at the mouth?

  76. Mansoor Haque says:

    They all need to swallow their spit before talking.

  77. Salma Danaf says:

    I just wanted to say thank you so much for doing videos like this because they have made me laugh and cry through my hard times and I'm a person who is very intrusive. and I've used ur methods so thank u so so so much soulpancake 😢😌💖

  78. Atheena Yanez says:

    the girl at 3:45 looks like Allegra Cole from the movie hitch (real name is Amber Valleta).

  79. Maia Quiapőwő says:

    The 'yellow' paragraph was simply a masterpiece !

  80. David H says:

    "My most strongest strength is my knowledge" Are you sure?

  81. Lulu Coleman says:

    Half full.

  82. Naeem says:

    0:03 her voice is so deep wow I like her

  83. Jim Hud says:

    My strength is to not have any strengths

  84. kgzuig says:

    I love the colorful paintings around.

  85. Mariah _ says:

    Need to make a list of my strengths and post it on my wall so that I'll see it when things go wrong. Maybe it will help me focus on the positives in my life.

  86. Sara Trejo says:

    My biggest strength is that I give no fucks

  87. Divergent Droid says:

    I'm a Glass Half Empty kinda guy. If I know my glass is half empty, my goal is to get it filled up to the top. Most people who prefer a Glass Half Full think they are happy and content because they still have a half of glass of water. This is a delusion as we know the water will run out, they will die of thirst. The people with Glass Half Empty won't give up on the struggle to keep that glass filled and will survive longer.

  88. Elizabeth Corkins says:

    Omg his uncle called him "dumb" 😔 that's messed up! He is cute too.

  89. im a bendy toe says:

    i mean technically the glass is completely full ..50% water50% oxygen or whatever

  90. Kohana27740 says:

    Watch his shirt at 0:40 it sarts off with blue and light blue stripes but then when the camera angle shifts it turns to blue and green… it does that twice

  91. phine999 says:

    Wished that the researcher could've given these participants more privacy… looking at the participants while they are filling out their surveys can produce intimidation which might prompt them to answer in a socially desirable manner :/

  92. Annie Wang says:

    I don't know. 3:20 What he said was in some way so beautiful to listen to, and when I hear him say he is proud of himself for it I am so happy.

  93. Leo Zendo says:

    Someone knows presence, authenticity, identity management, and then truth.

  94. Ire Kobayashi says:

    This let me thinking, although I like to consider my self a positive person, I don't usually (if not at all) think of my strengths

  95. Dorothea Esparza says:

    his shirt kept switching colors at the beginning

  96. Nhat Quang says:

    I don't really understand why the control group (who didn't do the positivity exercise) got a higher happiness increase, 43%, as opposed to 18% of those who did?

  97. Gihan Panditha says:


  98. Terry Rumler says:

    I'm a social worker and I use your videos with student groups a lot, and we often have the students do the exercises. We love them! I'm curious though, any thoughts on why some people experienced such a drop in happiness? Were there people who couldn't identify personal strengths? I'm very curious about the results. Thanks!

  99. Sharpshotz Gaming says:


    If someone drinks a full glass of milk halfway, it is now half empty.

    If someone fills an empty glass halfway with milk, it is now half full.

    You're welcome

  100. Artifice says:

    The whole half full half empty thing is utter BS
    It depends on context

    If you’re filling the cup halfway, it’s half full.
    If you’re drinking half of it, it’s half empty.

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