Updated: Oct 14, 2019

In the art and study of ZEN, they use cups as a metaphor to describe the different types of people and different types of mindsets. There are generally THREE cups which are: The Full Cup, The Cracked Cup and The Empty Cup.

The FULL Cup is – FULL. They know everything and are NOT open or receptive to any new information.

The CRACKED Cup is – CRACKED or BROKEN. Everything that we pour in – Leaks out.

The EMPTY Cup is – EMPTY. Poised and ready to be filled.

Which Cup are You?

Hey It’s Peter Harman The Food Guru here with your weekly Pep Talk. My goal is the teach restaurant owners and managers like you, to focus on Eight Basic Fundamentals that lead to a better life and financial freedom.

Today we are going to explore the different types of cups and see how they may be affecting your life.


The FULL Cup is – FULL. They know everything and they are NOT open or receptive to any new information. The FULL cup is always talking – talking – talking – talking. The FULL Cup wants you to think that they are smarter than you. Here’s the story of the Learned Man:

A learned man once went to visit a Zen Master to inquire about Zen. As the Zen master spoke, the learned man frequently interrupted to express his own opinion about this or that. Finally, the Zen master stopped talking and began to serve tea to the learned man. He poured the cup full, then kept pouring until the cup overflowed.

“Stop,” said the learned man. “The cup is full, no more can be poured in.”

The Zen MASTER replied - “Like this cup, you are full of your own opinions.” “If you do not first empty your cup, how can you taste my cup of tea?”

The FULL Cup is trapped in their own ideas and refuses to see the golden opportunities right in front of their eyes. Here’ an example that we all know - to illustrate my point.

Think or Blockbuster and Netflix. Several years ago, Blockbuster was the biggest video business in the land and Netflix was just a tiny start up. Blockbuster was a FULL

cup, they were stuck on the glories of their past, they refused to change, They were SET in their ways, trying to do the things that would protect their short term profit – for this Quarter. Trying to appease their shareholders, trying to cover their ass – again and again.

Blockbuster seemed to be bullet-proof.

On the other hand - Netflix was a lean and clean, empty cup, supple and open to ALL the possibilities around them. Netflix saw the future and took the risk… Yes, they suffered short term loss, AND they lived to see a very bright and profitable future…

If you are a FULL Cup – YOU must empty your mind.

Bruce Lee used to say – “Empty your cup and try.”

Here’s a spin-off of the Full Cup - THE INVERTED CUP:

The INVERTED Cup is INVERTED – it has an upside down view of the world and it also BLOCKS anything new from entry. The inverted cup is full of prejudice and pre-conceived ideas - the Inverted Cup refuses to hear any point of view that does not match their own. The inverted cup BLOCKS new information. They are stuck in the world of illusion and fantasy.

This brings us to - THE CRACKED CUP:

The CRACKED Cup is – CRACKED. Everything that we pour in – Leaks out. You can pour stuff in all you want – but these people are simply forgetful, unaware and unable to pay attention and retain the wisdom. Their brains are scattered, their performance is inconsistent, their lives are fractured, restauranting is not their path.

Next we have another variation, called - THE SOILED CUP:

The SOILED Cup is – CONTAMINATED. It is soiled with dirt or poison that contaminates the good things that are poured into the cup. The fruits of a soiled cup are skepticism, suspicion assumption, prejudice, arrogance and pride. The person who drinks from a soiled cup often becomes negative, paranoid and pessimistic. They only see – The Negative, The Evil, The Bad. It is important to clean your cup and be very careful of what you pour inside.

Remember the computer concept, garbage IN – garbage OUT!

Plus, I would add – Negative IN – Negative Out, and of course POSITIVE IN – Positive Out!

This brings us to - THE EMPTY CUP:

The EMPTY Cup is – EMPTY. Poised and ready to be filled.

The Empty Cup is often referred to as the BEGINNERS Mind.

The beginners mind is - Open to possibilities and free from pre-conceptions.

Here’s an Ancient Chinese saying - If three people go on a journey, one of them will be your teacher. This means you can learn from anyone – anywhere.

SO - Empty and clean your cup - AND fill it with GOOD things.

Oh, and by the way - there is a BONUS CUP – The FOURTH Cup…

It’s called the REPAIRED Cup, but before we go there let’s take a quick look at the broken cup.

THE BROKEN CUP: The broken cup is BROKEN. The broken cup is pain and in serious need of help and rehabilitation. Some broken cups simply give up and stay broken, others grit their teeth and find a way to get better.

This brings us to - the repaired cup.


The REPAIRED Cup is – FIXED or working very hard to become fixed or BETTER.

There is a Japanese word Kintsugi…

Kintsugi is the art of repairing broken pottery. This is done by mending the cracks with lacquer dusted with powdered gold, silver or platinum. Kintsugi treats breakage and repair as part of the history of the object rather than something to hide or disguise.

I love the concept of Kintsugi, because we are all imperfect and scarred. It is our battle scars that make us who we are. Never run from your scars, use them as the valuable lessons they are. And remember this – IT is our Struggles and Challenges and Obstacles that make us who we are. We all have a choice - either run from them, or we face them head on and defeat them AND then become a much stronger, smarter version of ourselves. Obstacles are simply in our way – to teach us how strong and magnificent we really are!

The moral of the story is – we must learn from our errors, disappoints and mistakes. We must embrace our scars.


The solution involves the process of - Un-Learning. Time marches on, things change and we must keep an open, supple, beginners mind to see what’s really going on around you.

It’s not WHAT you know that gets you in trouble. It’s what you think you know that just ain’t so that gets you in trouble. Walt Whitman

Think about the music industry for a second. In the 70’s we had Vinyl records, Then we had eight track tapes, then, the cassette tape, then, the CD, the MP3, MP4, MP5 and now we have the cloud.

Think about the restaurant industry for a second. Today we have the shortage of people and a looming $15 minimum wage; e also have the delivery Explosion with people like Grub Hub, and Uber poised to change our world.

The big question is - what type of cup are you… What will you do…

My goal is for you to become a very clean, empty cup – supple and ready to learn and become your absolute best. The world is waiting… Your people are waiting for - YOU to show up!


My Name is Peter Harman, I am the Food Guru. My goal is to start a restaurant revolution where every restaurant owner and manager who joins us has the information they need to earn a 10% Profit, create financial freedom and live the life of their dreams. If you really want to turn your restaurant and your life around in the next 90-Days, here’s my four step Plan.

1- SUBSCRIBE TO THIS PODCAST This weekly pep talk will keep you on your toes and give you inspiration to keep moving forward.

2- BUY MY BOOK I have written a book called Restauranting 101, it focuses on Eight Basic Fundamentals and it has the power to change your life and as luck would have it - it's available on Amazon today. This book will catapult your knowledge into the top 5% of all restaurant owners.

Then, after that you can come to food guru . com and…

3- SIGN UP FOR A FREE CONSULTATION: We will have a short discussion about you and your restaurant, if we agree that I can help you, we can move to step four… which is…

4- ONE ON ONE COACHING: face it… We all need a Coach… As a restaurant owner you need SOMEONE TO TALK TO, someone who understands your struggles and can hold you ACCOUNTABLE for the results. I want to be your coach… The goal of one on one coaching is to help you achieve the life of YOUR dreams.

Here’s what I believe: I believe that I can help you improve your sales by 10% - SIX Times in the next year.

Here’s your homework assignment. I want you to take out your P&L statement and look at your year to date sales. Then, I want you to increase them buy 10% - 6 times.

Just for fun, to see what that would really look like.

Think about this opportunity for a second… What are you waiting for?

Are you waiting for someone else to step up and make it happen?

Or are you ready to take the bull by the horns and kick some ass?

When the student is ready… The Food Guru will appear…

Thanks for listening, see you next week.

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