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.
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!
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.
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?