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BBC 6 minute English-Glass half full

BBC 6 minute English-Glass half full

BBC 6 minute English-Glass half full


Transcript of the podcast

NB: This is not a word-for-word transcript

Rob: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English, I’m Rob and with me is Finn

Finn: Hello Rob

Rob: You sound very cheerful – so, how are you feeling

Finn: I’m good thanks. Things are going well. I’m here in the studio with you, I’m going on holiday next week, and I’m really enjoying this cold weather

Rob: Really – I think it’s miserable outside but I suppose you’re a good example of an optimist – someone who always looks at life from a positive point of view. It’s a good thing

Finn. The opposite of an optimist is, of course, a pessimist

Finn: Well Rob, there is some hope for pessimists because research is taking place to see if people’s attitude to life can be switched from negative to positive

Rob: Well I’ll drink to that! Finn, here’s a glass of lemonade to celebrate – the only thing is – it’s half empty, there’s not much left in there

Finn: Stop complaining Rob – that’s half full – look, there’s still enough to enjoy

Rob: If you say so. We’ll explain more about that glass half empty saying shortly. But first, how optimistic are you about getting today’s question right

Finn: Extremely positive

Rob: OK. Well do you know who wrote this famous quote: “A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”. Was it

a) Winston Churchill

b) Oscar Wilde

c) Charles Dickens

Finn: It’s a good quote. I’m not sure but I’m think I’ll say b) Oscar Wilde

Rob: You sound optimistic! I’ll give you the answer at the end of the programme. So we are talking about being an optimist or a pessimist. It’s not something that can be easily measured; it more of a state of mind

Finn: A state of mind is how you think or feel. There are many factors that can influence – or affect this. Certain events in a person’s life, such as someone you know dying, or losing your job, can trigger – or cause – a negative feeling about life

Rob: And people with depression – a medical condition where someone is very unhappy – tend to be pessimistic

Finn: Indeed. But scientists are now looking inside our heads to see what’s going on and if there is a way to change how we feel

Rob: A medical journalist and doctor called Michael Mosley has been looking into this. He says our attitude to life – the positive or negative way we view life – affects our personality

Finn: What phrase does he use to describe the importance of optimism and pessimism in our characters

Medical journalist and doctor, Michael Mosley

Our personalities are a complex interaction of character traits that affect behaviour, emotions and ultimately the lives we lead. And one of the fundamental drivers is how optimistic or pessimistic we are. This is also one of the hottest new areas of scientific research

Rob: OK, so he says one of the fundamental drivers in shaping our personality is how optimistic or pessimistic we are. A fundamental driver means the most important thing that makes something happen

Finn: So our outlook on life drives – or shapes – our behaviour, our emotions and character traits – traits are the particular qualities we have. This subject is described as ‘one of the hottest new areas of research’ – hottest here means latest and most popular

Rob: And the research may find a way to change people from seeing a glass being half empty to one that is half full

Finn: There’s that phrase again! We sometimes say pessimistic people describe a glass of water or beer as being half empty – they have already drunk half of it and there’s not much left

Rob: But someone who is optimistic, like you Finn, would view the glass as being half full – there is still half of the drink left to enjoy. It really depends on your point of view – how you view things

Finn: We asked our BBC Learning English audience how full or empty their glass is. What have they been saying

Rob: Mariola says My glass is half full because I’m going on holiday next Friday

Finn: And Raquel says My glass is always half full because it’s the best way to be happy

Rob: But Mon Tran says My glass is half empty. I’m far away from my family and missing them so much

Finn: Well maybe scientists will be able to help Mon Tran and others to feel more optimistic about life in the future? Well Rob, I’m optimistic that I got today’s quiz question right

Rob: Let’s find out. Earlier I asked who wrote this famous quote: A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty

Finn: I said b) Oscar Wilde

Rob: You are wrong. They were the words of Winston Churchill. Ok that’s it for this programme. Do join us again soon for more 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English

Both: Bye

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