How Full Is Your Bucket


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How Full Is Your Bucket

  1. 2. How Full Is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life AUTHOR: Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D. PUBLISHER: Gallup Press DATE OF PUBLICATION: 2004 NUMBER OF PAGES: 127 pages
  2. 3. <ul><li>In this brief, yet very insightful book, the authors, a grandfather-grandson team, reveal how even the briefest of interactions can affect your relationships, productivity, and health. Based on a simple metaphor of a dipper and a bucket, and grounded in 50 years of comprehensive psychological and work-place research, How Full Is Your Bucket? will show you how to greatly increase the positive moments in your life, on the one hand, and reduce the negative, on the other hand. Moreover, you will read here practical advices and the authors’ very own “Five Strategies for Increasing Positive Emotions” which are easy to apply and which will surely change the way you look at your life, your work, and your world. </li></ul><ul><li>Powerful, captivating, and easy to read, this book’s heartwarming message has a spiritual quality to it. It manages to be inspirational without being preachy. Indeed, this book is a must read for anyone desiring to improve their work life and organizations, strengthen their relationships, and live happier. </li></ul>THE BIG IDEA
  3. 4. Negativity Kills <ul><li>In a study of one of the most extreme and perversely effective cases of psychological warfare on record, Dr. William E. Mayer, former Chief Psychiatrist of the U.S. Army, set out to discover the reason why so many men died in the North Korean POW camps during the Korean War. </li></ul><ul><li>In the course of his study, Mayer discovered that half of those soldiers died because they had completely given up, both mentally and physically. Among his findings, he reported that the North Koreans totally denied their captives the emotional support that comes from interpersonal relationships. </li></ul><ul><li>This story is just one of the powerful illustrations of the devastating effects of negative emotions. In fact, recent studies show that negative emotions can be bad to your health and can shorten your life. In contrast, however, similar studies also show that positive emotions can improve your physical and mental health and act as a buffer against depression and a host of illnesses. </li></ul>
  4. 5. <ul><li>Don Clifton realized in the early 1950s that the field of psychology was based almost entirely on the study of what is wrong with people. He considered this to be a significant stumbling block in this field, and so he began to wonder if it would be more important to study what is right with people. </li></ul><ul><li>Together with his colleagues, he set out to find the answers to his questions. Early in his research, he discovered that people’s lives are shaped by their interactions with others and that these encounters have a profound effect on people. In addition, these encounters were rarely, if ever, neutral; that is, they either had a positive or negative effect on people. </li></ul><ul><li>Unfortunately, that same year, he was diagnosed with a life-threatening cancer. Knowing that his time was limited, Don spent his final months doing what he did best and what people who knew him well expected of him: helping others to focus on the positive. </li></ul>Studying Positivity: The Emergence of Positive Psychology
  5. 6. The Theory of the Dipper and the Bucket <ul><li>The story about those American POWs motivated Don Clifton and his colleagues to study the flip side of that story. They wondered if continuous positive reinforcement could uplift and motivate people to reach for greater heights. In essence, they asked themselves whether positivity has an even stronger impact on people than negativity. Their research into this topic is the inspiration behind the Theory of the Dipper and the Bucket. </li></ul><ul><li>Based on a simple metaphor of a “dipper” and a “bucket,” this theory states that: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>-- Everyone has an invisible bucket. It is constantly emptied or filled depending on what others say or do to other people. Hence, people are at their best when their buckets are overflowing and at their worst when their buckets are empty. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-- Everyone also has an invisible dipper. In each and every interaction, people use their dipper to either fill up or dip from other’s buckets. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-- Whenever people choose to fill other people’s buckets, they in turn fill their own. And whenever people do the opposite, they only diminish themselves. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 7. <ul><li>People experience hundreds of potentially life-turning points in a given day, but usually the impact of these encounters is left unnoticed. Of course, only a few of these moments are so profound as to make people stop and contemplate on those events. </li></ul><ul><li>But just because many of these interactions are commonplace and are often unremarkable does not necessarily mean that they do not matter. Even if you should focus more on how to increase the positive emotions in your life, you should never disregard negativity and weaknesses. Definitely, positivity must be grounded in reality. </li></ul><ul><li>But in any event, you should not let hardships and adversities to define you. By and large, it is your responses to difficult events and your emotional state that are much more important. So, make a habit of filling buckets. Not only will bucket filling shield you against negativity, it will also allow you to survive and grow in the face of adversities. </li></ul>Bucket Filling
  7. 8. <ul><li>Physical and Mental Health Effects </li></ul><ul><li>Positive emotions and reinforcements can improve mental and physical well-being. For instance, optimists have been found to have more T4 or “helper” cells that fight against infection. Furthermore, they average to less than one doctor visit per year, while pessimists average to more than 3.5 visits per year. </li></ul><ul><li>Moreover, thousands of studies have shown that positive emotions could indeed lengthen one’s life. Take the case of the study of 839 Mayo Clinic patients over a 30-year period that found a link between optimism and a lower risk of early death. Even more surprising is the landmark study of 180 elderly Catholic nuns that showed a correlation between positive emotions and lower mortality rates among these women. </li></ul>Bucket Filling
  8. 9. <ul><li>Develop Insurance </li></ul><ul><li>Insurance is what you can fall back on when you are short of material or simply draw a blank. You use insurance to light the fuse of curiosity in your audience, your prospect, your class, or your customer. </li></ul><ul><li>Insurance can be a tried-and-true crowd-pleaser or a way of experimenting with vulnerability and experimentation. A top performer recognizes that authenticity is the world’s best insurance. One genuine question is worth a hundred practical answers. </li></ul><ul><li>Because of this, you need to develop your insurance. We all prepare for the time when nothing seems to be working by having insurance to fall back on. Insurance is something you fall back on, something that is practiced and effective in a pinch. </li></ul><ul><li>It may be a routine, a gimmick, an interaction. It may be the way you handle a mess. </li></ul>Bucket Filling
  9. 10. <ul><li>Killing Productivity </li></ul><ul><li>Sadly though, such is not the case in the majority of companies today. The U.S. Department of Labor, for instance, cites lack of appreciation as the #1 reason why people leave their jobs, and a poll done last 2003 reported an astounding 65% of Americans who received no recognition or praise for their good work. Hence, it should not come as a surprise when employees become less productive and feel completely disengaged from their jobs. In any event, it is the organizations that end up suffering the most. </li></ul><ul><li>Moreover, not only is this rampant negativity upsetting, it is also costly. The U.S. economy, for example, loses around $250 to $300 billion every year in lost productivity alone. And if you add workplace injury, illness, turnover, absences, and fraud, the cost could rich to a staggering $1 trillion per year, or nearly 10% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). </li></ul>Positivity and Productivity
  10. 11. <ul><li>Spiraling Downwards </li></ul><ul><li>When your bucket is empty, not only do you feel down, you are also less productive because of it and you tend to bring others down with you by reactively dipping from their buckets. To put it in another way, negative employees are like poison to the workplace. Transferring them to other departments will not solve the problem because their negativity follows them wherever they go. </li></ul><ul><li>What’s more, negative employees can and do scare off customers. In a study of 4, 583 call center representatives from a major telecommunications company, three service reps were found to have scared off every single customer they talked to within a given day, and worse these customers stopped doing business with the company for good. So, where productivity is concerned it would be better for organizations if these overly negative people just stayed home. </li></ul>Positivity and Productivity
  11. 12. <ul><li>Studies reveal that organizational leaders who share positive emotions have work groups with a more positive mood, enhanced job satisfaction, greater engagement, and improved group performance. Also, managers and employees who actively spread positive emotions in their organizations not only energize the workplace, but also contribute much to the productivity growth of the company. </li></ul><ul><li>However, and this is a crucial point, a one-size-fits-all approach to bucket filling does not really work. If you want people to really understand that you value them and their contributions to the organization, and that they are important, it is that the recognition or praise that you will give will have specific and personal meaning to the individual. Furthermore, individualized bucket filling is more effective in boosting productivity in the workplace, and it also builds sustainable relationships, too. </li></ul>Bucket Filling in Organizations
  12. 13. Five Strategies for Increasing Positive Emotions <ul><li>Strategy One: Prevent Bucket Dipping </li></ul><ul><li>Before you can begin to truly fill buckets, you should resolve to stop bucket dipping altogether. One good way to do this is to be watchful of what you say to other people. </li></ul><ul><li>Try this for size. For the next few days, try to catch yourself in the act of bucket dipping, such as giving a negative comment or making fun of somebody, and then stop yourself. Imagine yourself having an internal “pause” button that you can push whenever you feel you are about to dip from somebody else’s bucket. You will be surprised at the results! </li></ul><ul><li>Strategy Two: Shine a Light on What Is Right </li></ul><ul><li>Keep in mind that each interaction is an opportunity to fill a bucket. Every time you fill a bucket, you are setting something good in motion. </li></ul><ul><li>Think about it: if you were to fill two buckets a day, and the owners of those buckets do the same, more than 1,000 buckets would have been filled at the end of 10 days. </li></ul>
  13. 14. Five Strategies for Increasing Positive Emotions <ul><li>Strategy Three: Make Best Friends </li></ul><ul><li>Having a best friend does not necessarily mean that you should limit yourself to just one close friend. It is better if you have several relationships of the best-friend caliber in your workplace, home, and social circles. For instance, workplace research reveal that people with best friends at work have better safety records, receive higher customer satisfaction scores, and are more productive. </li></ul><ul><li>Strategy Four: Give Unexpectedly </li></ul><ul><li>Expected gifts can fill people’s buckets. However, an unexpected gift given at an unexpected time fills it even more. </li></ul><ul><li>Majority of people prefer gifts that are unexpected. And it does not even have to be something big or expensive or even tangible. It can be a gift of trust or responsibility. Even a smile or hug can be an unexpected and much cherished gift. </li></ul>
  14. 15. Five Strategies for Increasing Positive Emotions <ul><li>Strategy Five: Reverse the Golden Rule </li></ul><ul><li>For a more robust and meaningful bucket filling, individualization is the key. Individualized bucket filling is not only more effective, but it also builds sustainable relationships and changes people’s lives forever. Here, doing to others the things that you would have them do to you would not really apply. Instead, why not do to others the things that they would have liked you to do unto them. </li></ul>
  15. 16. Epilogue: We All Need Full Buckets <ul><li>People are certain to encounter challenges and adversities in life. Nonetheless, they should not allow these intermittent twists of fate to overwhelm them. </li></ul><ul><li>What’s important is that people should take every possible opportunity to increase the positive emotions in their lives and of those around them. It will certainly make a big difference. It may even change the world. </li></ul>
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