• The famous glass

Assume the best. Assume the worst. Life is about making the right assumptions. This is one of two important lessons the game of bridge has taught me. I’ll get to the other later.

How to put it? Be always aware of circumstances. Whether a glass is half full or half empty depends less on your nature than on whether you’re filling the glass or drinking from it. So you be the one at the table filling the glasses. Let your opponents empty them. As the evening wears on you’ll find yourself making more and more unmakeable slams.

Sorry. That’s off point. What I mean is that in bridge, and in life, it is necessary to make appropriate assumptions. The state of your proverbial glass—half full or half empty—should not be contingent on anything so secondary as your disposition. If should not matter whether you’re as optimistic as Pangloss or as despairing as the rustic who, when running water was introduced to his village, muttered, “This won’t end wells.”

Sorry again. OK, my point is this: be a genuine optimist or pessimist with your friends when there’s nothing at stake but their friendship; but at the bridge table exploit optimism and pessimism as tactical alternatives.