Is Your Orange Juice Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

Is Your Orange Juice Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

Recently, I wrote a column about the hope that our citrus industry might be turning a bit of a corner with expectations we would see higher production. At the time, Hurricane Irma was brewing to our south. I put an editor’s note on the column saying the storm had not yet arrived and its impact on the state was yet unknown.

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Irma came and left in its wake historic damage to the state’s agricultural sector. Unfortunately, the citrus industry took the hardest blow. While USDA’s initial estimate put the orange crop at 54 million boxes, many believe the number is too high and will tumble in future estimates.

The state’s fruit and vegetable growers were not unscathed, either. Many beds were destroyed and are now being redone and planted on an escalated pace to try and catch Florida’s exclusive and sometimes elusive market window. And, growers are rolling the dice by foregoing fumigation of beds to get plants in the field quicker.

Irma left her mark, and now begins the long process of recovery and rebuilding after the storm. I recently attended the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association’s Annual Convention in Amelia Island. As always, the association had a great speaker for their Cracker Breakfast. This year, Andy Andrews gave an inspiring message well suited for the audience just two weeks after the storm.

Andrews could empathize with the crowd, acknowledging that Hurricane Ivan had destroyed his Gulf Coast home when Ivan passed through in 2004. The New York Times best-selling author shared with attendees the importance of perspective and attitude when dealing with hardships. And, he spoke about the seven decisions that we can choose to make to help determine personal success in life and work.

Fifth on his list was: Choose to be happy and grateful. Granted that is probably a challenge with crops uprooted, beds destroyed, fruit on the ground, and trees blown over by the fury of Irma. But, in explaining his fifth decision, he talked about “glass half full” people versus “glass half empty” folks that made an impression on me.

“Folks it’s just a glass,” he said when referencing the example. It is a glass with a certain amount of liquid in it. “The glass is what it is. That’s not going to change.”

What makes all the difference is how you see that glass. If you are a glass half empty person, then how you approach a situation will always be shadowed by pessimism and negative questions about how to proceed. It is a mindset of failure.

On the other hand, that same glass could be approached with half-full optimism and positive questions about how to improve the situation the glass analogy represents. It is all about attitude.

Now with Irma, the glass certainly is not full. Many challenging days remain as you clean up your groves and fields. It won’t be easy, but the good news is most farmers are half-full personalities.

That brings me to Andrew’s seventh decision: Persist without exception. Don’t view obstacles and challenges as barriers, but merely things that must be overcome. He joked, “Were there is no will, there ain’t no way.” There is strong-willed — some might even say stubborn — blood flowing through the veins of Florida growers. It was evident immediately after the storm and will continue to pump through in the days ahead.