How full is your bucket?

How Full Is Your Bucket by Tom Rath and Donald Clifton

How Full Is Your Bucket by Tom Rath and Donald Clifton

Today I’m participating in the WordPress weekly photo challenge on “curves”Hop on over to my nature photography website to view my photo contributions.

I’m not doing a WWW Wednesdays update this week because I’m still reading Running Blind by Lee Child. Instead I wanted to share a book I read about positive thinking recently. It’s a very short read and it’s full of interesting research data and useful ideas you can easily implement  and use on a daily basis. The book is called How Full Is Your Bucket by Tom Rath and Donald Clifton (who was Tom’s grandfather and passed away before the book was published).

Positive thinking can have powerful effects on our minds and bodies, yet so many people walk around with a negative mindset. How Full Is Your Bucket shares plenty of data to explain how detrimental negativity can be to our own selves, but also to the people around us when we are negative (and vice versa). Did you know a positive environment will make you more productive? It sounds logical, yet many people and companies don’t do much to improve positive thoughts.

How full is your bucket - a positive mindset increases productivity

How full is your bucket – a positive mindset increases productivity

Now, when it comes to the bucket filling principle, it’s as easy as pie. Imagine you walk around the whole day with an invisible bucket over your head. Everytime something good happens to you, a few drops go into your bucket. With every negative emotion you feel, a few drops come out. The key is to walk around with your bucket as full as possible.

But wait, it gets better! Did you know that every time you do something positive for someone else, you not only put a few drops in their bucket but you also deposit drops in yours? That’s the power of a positive attitude. On the other hand, you can drain drops from your bucket and other people’s buckets when you are being negative, so nip those negative attitudes in the bud!

The principle of filling your bucket

The principle of filling your bucket

How Full Is Your Bucket For Kids by Tom Rath

How Full Is Your Bucket For Kids by Tom Rath

How simple is this concept to understand and implement? Very simple, and everyone can do it. The authors give you a lot of practical exercises to help you focus on the positive.  I also read How Full Is Your Bucket For Kids by Tom Rath with my own kids a few weeks ago. At first, they were puzzled by the bucket over the head idea, but once they understood the concept, they embraced it. We use the bucket filling principle on a regular basis, especially when the mood tends to be tense. I ask my boys about their bucket and how full or empty it is, and then we discuss what we can do to fill it up. Not only it helps them find a solution to their temporary problem, but it also quickly distracts them for staying in the negative. And it makes them feel more empathetic towards other people, as they understand they can drain someone’s bucket with their own actions. Pretty powerful stuff, especially for little ones who are still learning what empathy is.

The end of the book summarizes the five strategies you need to follow to encourage positive thinking in yourself and the people around you. Make sure you reverse the golden rule by treating others as THEY would like to be treated, not the way you like to be treated. It makes a lot more sense that way, since not everyone likes to be treated the same.

The five strategies about filling your bucket

The five strategies about filling your bucket

I also recommend is The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor, which focuses on positive psychology (you can read my review of The Happiness Advantage here). The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People by David Niven is another short, easy to read and understand book on the power of positive thinking. You can read my full review of The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People here.

Have you read books on positive thinking or happiness that left a positive (pun intended!) impression on you?

12 responses to “How full is your bucket?

  1. That book sounds great! I love how they have a children’s version too (I’d probably eat that one up because it has cool pictures).

    • Both books are very fast to read, so I’d recommend both! I hate reading books that try to “teach” you how to think differently in 500 pages. This book is very, very basis, but it really has everything you need to remember and examine in your daily life to make very simple but positive changes. I still believe that staying away from negative people is one of the best ways to stay positive. Those people will grab any opportunity to take you down with them and suck the life out of you. Surrounding yourself with positive and caring people makes a huge difference.

  2. This makes me think of your good things jar. I’m guessing that jar is pretty full by now. I think it’s true that our emotions can really be contagious, and unfortunately it seems like it’s easier to catch negative feelings. It’s much better to soak up those positive rays instead! That’s great that your kids are learning that from you.

    • Yes, emotions (good or bad) are contagious! I love it where our good emotions bounce around at home and we all feel energized. The same can be said about negative energies, unfortunately. ;-)
      And you’re right, we were looking at our jar of good things the other day as we were adding things to it and it looks half full. It’s going to be so much fun to open it at the end of the year. It reminds me I need to add that my youngest not only graduated from preschool this week (ceremony and all) but he also won a big dinosaur book for being the boy in his class who did the most book reports. Very exciting week!

  3. Hi Milka,
    Glad to hear there is a children’s version. This is such an important life lesson to teach children. :-)

    • Thanks, Julie! I know it may seem very hard to notice something positive some days, but it’s worth paying attention and noticing, even if it’s a short laugh. Or a glass of wine at the end of a long day. :-)

  4. Great concept . . . so glad there’s a companion book for kids. :D

    • I’ve tried to read some other positive thinking / affirmation books with my kids and they’re either corny or borderline preaching (or just preaching). This is the simplest book on that subject I’ve found for kids.

  5. A perfect list of kid’s books that both entertain and give positive lessons. I agree, we need to be around positive thinkers. Life is too short to dwell on bitterness and negativity.

    • I’ve been around too many negative people for too long to know they will drain all the positive thoughts and energy out of you to try to take you down with them. The best thing to do is to avoid them completely, for your own sanity and happiness. I’m glad we think alike!

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