A psychology professor entered the classroom with half a glass of water in his hand. The students expected the old common question “was it half empty or half full?” But to the surprise, he asked them “How heavy is this glass of water?”

The answers given by the students ranged from 7 oz. To 25 oz. But the professor replied that the actual weight of the glass with water doesn’t always matter but how long you hold the glass is what matters.

If you hold the glass for a minute, you won’t feel much weight. But if you hold for 10 minutes, you will feel a little more weight and it gets heavier for you with hours.

If you hold it for the entire day, then your hands would go numb and pain.

That very light and small and MINOR glass of water will become increasingly heavy.

The same thing happens with our little slip ups and stresses.

The more we focus on them, the more we give them our attention and beat ourselves up over them and focus on them over just learning from them and moving forward, the bigger they become.

We need to learn to let go of the things we can’t change or control while not ignoring them. We have to recognize them, take ownership of them BUT not just dwell on what happened.

Because if we instead feel guilty, let it derail multiple days and throw us off…well the weight of that event adds up.

It gains more importance in our mind. It festers and builds to hold back progress.

It becomes WORSE than it really was.

Do not little mistakes that are mere light glasses of water become things you can barely hold up because you’ve let your mind stay focused on them.

Instead remember that those mistakes only hold weight if we allow ourselves to DWELL on them.

Basically the Moral: You should learn to let go of your stresses and setbacks. If you can do something about it, just do it. In the other case, just leave it and work towards your goals or else it just kills your productivity.

Now What Can You Do To Help Yourself Move Forward:

Consider WHY This Situation Impacts You So Much

Have you ever been in a situation that makes you feel guilty or dwell on it more than you feel you should?

Many of us have.

And at those times, try to step back and consider, even reflecting in hindsight weeks later if needed, as to why it had such an impact.

– Is it something you’re insecure about and it hit a nerve?
– Is it something that had far reaching impact?
– Is it something really outside your comfort zone?
– Did it come out of left field?

Take time to assess why this situation impacted you even more to see what you can change for next time or even use to seek out new guidance or knowledge.

Often when we feel guilty or dwell more on specific things, there is something ELSE going on we could address outside of what actually happened.

There may be an insecurity we haven’t addressed.

There may be outside issues we haven’t recognized.

By taking time to assess these things, we may be able to avoid other similar situations because of this increased self awareness.

Write Down 3 Things You Could Do Differently Next Time

Things happen outside of our control. All we can do is ultimately control our perspective and response.

So even if you reflect and there was nothing you could do to change or prevent the situation from happening, list out 3 things you’ve learned about how to better respond next time.

If you do think you could prevent the situation or reduce the impact in the future, list out those ideas.

The key is to focus on the actions or improvements you could make over the negative things you couldn’t control.

This will help you move forward but also improve.

This is embracing failures as the positive learning experiences they truly are.

They often teach us the most partly because of the EMOTION or PAIN they cause that we don’t want to repeat.

But use that as a chance to reflect over just brushing past them.


Failures, stresses, set backs WILL happen. The key is to learn from them and not let our attention be diverted to them longer than needed.

We don’t want to build them up and make them something that actually holds us back.

So focus on assessing why these things may have bothered you and then how you can learn from these experiences.

We have to recognize that not dwelling doesn’t mean IGNORING what happened either!