An optimist, they say, sees the glass as half-full, the pessimist sees it as half-empty and the England cricket supporter sees it as an opportunity to make a beer snake.
You can understand why spectators might have been conflicted as they left Trent Bridge on Tuesday night. On the one hand, they had seen one of the most wonderfully memorable games of cricket they could hope to witness. On the other, they had seen two flawed, mid-ranking teams make a catalogue of errors in a game of wildly varying quality.
It would be churlish not to recognise England's admirable spirit. The partnership between Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes - men whose softly-spoken modesty off the pitch conceals impressive confidence and determination on it - spoke volumes for the attitude and ability within the current England dressing room. While many previous sides would have capitulated to a heavy defeat - the World Cup match in Wellington springs to mind - this side is made of sterner stuff. There is a lot to admire and a lot to like in that dressing room, not least the reminder that you don't have to be a brat to be a success in international sport.
But when Eoin Morgan spoke after the match, it was clear that he was not going to allow the fightback to mask earlier failings. While recognising the belief in the dressing room as "quite incredible" he also rated the "general performance" as "really poor" and England's batting in the first 10 overs of their innings "as bad as any time in the last year". England were, he said, "very lucky" to escape with a tie.
All of which is heartening. A weaker captain may well have simply 'taken the positives' from the match and allowed his side to be deluded into thinking they remain on track. But, when Morgan spoke at the launch of the 2017 Champions Trophy earlier this month, he talked of the change in attitude in the new England team and a sense that, while previous sides may have been happy to "reflect on how good you are", his team "always want to be better".
So Morgan will know that, at best, England just about got away with their failings on Tuesday. They got away with the five-man attack that left Morgan scratching his head at times. They got away with the lack of movement obtained by two of the seamers, with only David Willey gaining any swing. They got away with a top-order collapse and they got away with the sort of fielding errors - Woakes diving over a ball at fine leg and Joe Root dropping a catch at long-on - that will be punished by the best teams.
To some extent, these errors are what you would expect in a developing side. England are only one year into their rebuilding project and they are still in the process of identifying the players that will carry them into the 2019 World Cup.
So Root, after a fantastic year, is entitled to a relatively unproductive period without it sparking any long-term concerns. And while Morgan's wicket - attempting a late-cut but managing only a thin edge to the keeper - extended his run of international innings without a half-century to 19, he had looked in fluent form until his dismissal and he is leading the side impressively. Moeen Ali, the top-rated ODI bowler in this series according to the ICC rankings, Buttler and Alex Hales, who has two centuries and four half-centuries in his last nine ODIs, also look very likely to be the men around whom the side is built. Adil Rashid, who delivered a well-controlled spell of leg-spin in Nottingham and must be one of the best No. 11s in the business, increasingly looks to be in the same category.
One or two others have some work to do. Jonny Bairstow needs a longer run in the side to demonstrate that he can translate his fine Test form into this format, but Liam Plunkett perhaps required that last-ball strike to deflect attention from a slightly unconvincing performance with the ball. He will be 34 by the time the 2019 World Cup is played and may have limited opportunities to impress. Jason Roy, who has not passed 20 in five ODIs, also has some work to do to prevent Moeen returning to the top-order position from where he scored two centuries.
One man whose stock rose considerably on Tuesday night was Woakes. He had never scored a List A half-century until Tuesday and, while he will never be a power hitter - he admitted he was pleased that Plunkett was on strike for the final ball as he was the more likely to hit a six - he impressed with his calm head, his quick running and the pace of his bowling. He will be 30 by the time the World Cup is played and feels he should be at his peak by then.
It has appeared, at times, as if Woakes might be unfortunate to see his career coincide with that of Ben Stokes. Both are fine cricketers but Stokes is a little younger, a little more talented and a little more established. But England can always find room for players capable of delivering runs and wickets; there is no reason the pair cannot play alongside one another. Indeed, it is Stokes who has a bit to do to improve a surprisingly modest record in ODI cricket - he has a batting average of 21.40 and a bowling average of 36.50.
"I'd like to think we can play in the same team," Woakes said. "The workload is very high in international cricket, especially for all-rounders like myself and Ben, so I suppose there will be times we rotate. If that's the case, so be it. I'll be happy just to do a job for the team."
Woakes was a member of the 2015 World Cup squad that underperformed so memorably. As such he is well-placed to comment on what has changed in a relatively short space of time. He specifies two issues: the selection of a slightly younger team and, perhaps partially because of that, greater self-belief.
"We probably doubted ourselves before," Woakes said. "There is more belief that we can do it now. We didn't do it as players in 2015 and that was our own fault. We back ourselves more and we believe in ourselves to play fearless cricket.
"We believe we can win a game from any position. At 80 for 6 you are not thinking about winning immediately, but you always know a partnership can give you a sniff. Me and Jos did that. The belief is that we can do that.
"And you are looking at a slightly different team. T20 has helped ODI cricket there. Batters have more shots too and scoops are the norm rather than a shock."
But Woakes, like Morgan, accepted that England had underperformed for much of Tuesday's game.
"All-round we could have been better," Woakes said. "With bat and ball.
"We don't want to be losing wickets like that. It makes it hard work. We could have protected our wickets more and chasing that sort of total our best batsmen should face the majority of balls.
"And we're disappointed with the way we bowled. To restrict them was good, but we felt we could have bowled better.
"The important thing is we realise we have more to prove, we can play better than that and hopefully it starts on Friday."
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo