How Full Is Your Bucket


Optimistic, yes. Deep, no. How Full Is Your Bucket?, subtitled "Positive Strategies for Work and Life", is co-authored by the late chairman of Gallup Inc. and his grandson. It's a super-fast read, full of anecdotes to encourage people to be nicer to one another. After setting up a metaphor — one's level of happiness is like a bucket, with a level of water that can go up or down — the authors suggest "Five Strategies for Increasing Positive Emotions":

  • Prevent Bucket Dipping
  • Shine a Light on What Is Right
  • Make Best Friends
  • Give Unexpectedly
  • Reverse the Golden Rule

They're each explained in short, large-print discussions:

  • Don't be mean and try not to let others be mean
  • Pay attention to good things and thank people for their kindness
  • Have close positive relationships, aka "best friends" (a term that, slightly illogically, is not exclusive!) at work and in social relationships
  • Make small surprising gifts to others, "... maybe a funny little trinket, a hug, or an offer to grab a cup of coffee. Even a smile can be an unexpected and cherished gift. Consider unexpected sharing as well ..."
  • "Do unto others as they would have you do unto them."

Not a lot of rocket science, but alas not strikingly well-written and not grounded in any quantitative research. Likely most of the copies sold were mass-purchases by businesses and for employee-motivational classes.

That doesn't make How Full Is Your Bucket?" wrong, of course. But perhaps it should be thought of as a launching pad for more thoughtful, diverse reading in positive psychology, mindfulness, or life-philosophy.

(cf. Optimist Creed (1999-04-16), How to Win Friends and Influence People (2008-05-17), Tough-Minded Optimists (2009-12-22), Take It Up (2011-05-13), How to Be an Optimist (2011-08-24), Mental Toughness (2015-12-06), How to Master Any Game (2016-02-18), Mantra - Be on Good Form (2016-05-10), ...) - ^z - 2016-09-13