Home > Collaboration and Communication, Creativity and Innovation, Opportunity, Relationships > “How Full Is your Bucket?” by Rath and Clifton

“How Full Is your Bucket?” by Rath and Clifton

Many teachers at my school have read this book since we are a “PBIS” School, ie. Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports. The bucket filling idea fits right into PBIS.

Chapter one told the story of the Korean war which had the highest POW death rate in US military history. The Koreans used “relentless negativity” that broke down all interpersonal relationships by withholding all positive emotional support. After studying this phenomenon the authors asked the question “Can positivity have an even stronger impact than negativity?” This allowed them to come up with the idea of the bucket. Here is the description: “Everyone has an invisible bucket. We are at our best when our buckets are overflowing – and at our worst when they are empty. Everyone also has an invisible dipper. In each interaction, we can use our dipper either to fill or to dip from others’ buckets. Whenever we choose to fill others’ buckets, we in turn fill our own.”

Chapter two discusses what being appreciated can do or not do for employees. The number one reason people leave their jobs are because they don’t feel appreciated.  65% of Americans received no recognition in the workplace last year. Bad bosses could increase the risk of stroke by 33%. A study found that negative employees can scare off every customer they speak with — for good.

Chapter three talks about all the studies on negativity, but there are now a lot of studies on positivity. 9 out of 10 people say they are more productive when they’re around positive people.  We experience approximately 20,000 individual moments every day.  Memorable moments are always positive or negative. In some cases, a single encounter can change your life forever. John Gottman’s pioneering research  on marriages suggests there is a “magic ratio” of 5 to 1 – in terms of our balance of positive to negative interactions. When the ratio approaches to 1 to 1, marriages “cascade to divorce.” Increasing positive emotions could lengthen life span by 10 years. Barbara Fredrickson, director of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory at the University of Michigan, researched positivity and concludes that following benefits: protect us from negative emotions, fuel resilience, transform people, broaden thinking, break down racial barriers, build durability, produce optimal functioning, and improve overall performance of a group.

Chapter four is all about the author Tom’s story. He grew up around adults who encouraged all of his interests. He was very positive, then cancer hit and he has lived with much negativity. Tom took his positivity and did not worry about what could happen. He lived life to the fullest. He was able to do this because of his support around him. A negative event can not take all that way from him and we should not let it take it away from us either.

Chapter five is titled “Make it Personal”. What is positive for one person is not always positive for another. We all need to discover what makes our co-workers thrive. For one, it might be public recognition for a job well done, others may prefer a personalized gift or note. Get to know your co-workers so you know how to say “thank you” professionally and personally.

At the end of the book there is a list of the five strategies:

  1. Prevent Bucket Dipping- before you speak, think if that will fill a bucket or empty a bucket.
  2. Shine a Light on What is Right – this is the same theory from the book “Catch Them Being Good
  3. Make Best Friends – relationships make life worth living
  4. Give unexpectedly – everyone loves surprises
  5. Reverse the Golden Rule – “do unto others as they would have you do unto them”

For more information read the book “How Full is your Bucket?” or visit their website www.bucketbook.com.

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  1. Glenda De Hoyos
    October 4, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    I really liked this book and its message. I also love the kids versions and how kids can easily understand the message with the simple text and the colorful pictures. It is great that they are using it in your school. I imagine that there are many activities to work with this theory of the bucket. In my school the 5th grade teacher created the Bucket Filler Club and the students that are part of the club do many activities to fill the buckets of others within the school community and beyond. Take care! Keep the great reviews coming! Have you read the book Drive?

  2. October 5, 2014 at 8:50 am

    I have read the book DRIVE and I love that one too. So many books, so little time.

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