Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How Full is your Bucket?

A while back a friend of mine was telling me about a book named "How Full is your Bucket" by Tom Rath that she had read for work. It sounded interesting so I gave it a shot and found it to be a really interesting concept. Here's the Theory of the Dipper and the Bucket from the author's website:

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 has an invisible dipper. When we use that dipper to fill other people's 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.

Like the cup that runneth over, a full bucket gives us a positive outlook and renewed energy. Every drop in that bucket makes us stronger and more optimistic.

But an empty bucket poisons our outlook, saps our energy, and undermines our will. That's why every time someone dips from our bucket, it hurts us.

So we face a choice every moment of every day: We can fill one another's buckets, or we can dip from them. It's an important choice -- one that profoundly influences our relationships, productivity, health, and happiness.

When we write our blogs and then receive comments, that's a very bucket filling experience. Reading the comments I receive and leaving comments for others always leaves me feeling happy. I feel lately that in my personal relationships that I spend a lot of time complaining about things that are complained about to me. I need to find a way to make this stop. It's not even my OWN issues that I'm complaining about. It's overall turning me into a rather stressed out and unhappy person.

How does one stop others from constantly draining their bucket? It's not like you can stop them mid sentence and say, "You're draining my bucket."

***edit*** I'm not targeting anyone, I'm just stating how I feel. I seem to have gotten everyone up in arms about my post and feeling like they should feel guilty or something. That's not the case at all. I'm just relating my life experiences to what I read. ***end edit***


Suzan said...

I tend to avoid "bucket drainers". I am usually pretty upbeat. We have lots of drama in my family. When the drama starts, I leave. I am nice but I leave the room or move away to another group or whatever. Same thing with reading blogs. Even if I have liked a blog in the past, if the tone gets too negative or whatever, I stop reading. I may check back once in a while to see if the mood has changed but often I just drop that blog from the ones I read. Life is way too short to be unhappy!!

Christine said...

Why not stop them and say "You're draining my bucket."? I mean really, they're draining your bucket because someone else drained theirs. If you say something, maybe they'll rethink their own bucket draining habit.

I tend to be one of those people who never says anything and just sits there and takes it and I'm tired of it. I've started to stand up for myself a lot more lately and sure it's caused some uncomfortable moments but I'll be better off in the long run.

Moneik said...

I know exactly how you feel. It's been a bucket draining week. I think it's time to move on and not let those people upset me. I need to be better at commenting, because I know I love it when I receive them.

BitnByAQuiltingBug said...

I love this post. What a great way to look at life. I have people in my life that drain my bucket and I'm sure I've drained a few myself. I hope this post makes me stop and think about things before I drain someone's bucket again! Thanks, Jen!

Piwacket said...

Jen, this is so true. I've heard this same concept put into terms of a bank account and that others make a withdrawal from your account, and you do the same to yours. In the book that used that analogy, the author also stated that our human nature is that our withdrawals tend to be larger than our deposits and so soon we're in a deficit. There are toxic people and they can be such a negative influence on us, really draining all of our positive energy. I now tend to avoid those people. I used to seek approval from everyone. Now I tend to be the one who is very selective about who I want to spend time with. It's true (IMO) that the universe mirrors whatever energy we send out to it. Send out whining, complaints, pettiness, and bitter feelings and that's exactly what you'll get back. Send out love, caring, kindness, mercy, service and respect and the universe will magnify it in your own life.

quiltin cntrygrl said...

Wow Jen that is a nice concept.. I myself have had a rather bucket draining week and today made it even worse.. I found reading your blog today made me think of things in a different way.. Thanks

Carol VR said...

I'm here to fill your bucket...hope you like ice cream...LOL

jillquilts said...

I think that you should tell people that they are draining your bucket. Especially the friends that whine and complan non-stop, but that read your blog. They'll know what you mean. Say it enough and they will hopefully get the hint!

Eva said...

I know a couple of bucket drainers, but sometimes I can get them out of it by changing the subject, but other days they just drag me down too, so that is when I need a break from them. You have to try and surround yourself with positive vibes to keep yourself going.

Judy Laquidara said...

Love it! Thanks for sharing it. I have a new saying . . "You're draining my bucket!" Hope I never have to use it but it's a good one if needed!