How Full is Your Bucket?
About fifty years ago, Don Clifton who was teaching psychology at the University of Nebraska noticed that the field of psychology was based almost entirely on the study of what is wrong with people. He began exploring whether it would be more important to study what is right with people and began a movement of positive psychology.
In 2004, Don Clifton’s grandson Tom Rath, a senior scientist and advisor to Gallup Inc. co-authored a small yet profound book, How Full Is Your Bucket? along with his grandfather. Tom Rath presents the compelling discoveries his grandfather gathered over half-a-century of work in the field of Positive Psychology with the use of a simple metaphor of bucket and a dipper.
Each of us has an invisible bucket. It is constantly emptied or filled, depending on what others say or do to us. When our bucket is full, we feel great. When it’s empty, we feel awful.
Each of us also have an invisible dipper. When we use that dipper to fill other peoples’ buckets – by saying or doing things to increase their positive emotions – we also fill our own bucket. But when we use that dipper to dip from others’ buckets – by saying or doing things that decrease their positive emotions – we diminish ourselves.
A full bucket, therefore, gives us positive outlook and renewed energy. Every drop in that bucket makes us stronger and more optimistic. Conversely, an empty bucket poisons our outlook, saps our energy, and undermines our will. No wonder, every time someone dips from our bucket, it hurts us.
Keeping our bucket full or empty is matter of choice. We all have the right to choose whether to keep our buckets full or empty. We can fill one another’s buckets, or we can dip from them.
When you think of it, the choice is clear. A full bucket signifies positivity. An empty bucket increases and feeds negativity. Therefore, we must constantly be alert and try to become experts at bucket-filling and minimizing bucket-dipping. The magic ratio bucket filling (positive interactions) to bucket dipping (negative interactions) is 5:1, that is five positive interactions to every one negative interaction.
Decide now, whose buckets are you going to fill today?