Excerpts from the book ‘How Full is Your Bucket?’ by Tom Rath & Donald O. Clifton.


The Theory of the dipper and the Bucket 


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 buckets by saying or doing things to increase their positive emotions we also fill our bucket. But when we use that dipper to dip from others buckets by saying or doing things that decrease their 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 our will. That’s why every time someone dips from our buckets, 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 influence our relationships, productivity, health, and happiness 




Relentless negatively resulted in a 38% POW death in U.S. military history 

They employed what mayer describe as the “ultimate weapon” of war. 


The “Ultimate Weapon” 

Mayer reported that the North Koreans objective was to deny men the emotional support that comes from interpersonal relationships. To do this, the captors used four primary tactics: 




Breaking loyalty to leadership and country 

Withholding all positive emotional support 


1) To encourage informing, the North Koreans gave prisoners rewards such as cigarettes when they snitched on one another. 


2) To promote self-criticism each man was required to stand up in front of the group and confess all the bad things he had done as well as all the good things he could have done but failed to do. 


3) In one case, a colonel instructed one of his men not to drink the water from a rice paddy filed because he knew the organisms in the water might kill him. The soldier looked at this colonel and remarked, “Buddy, you ain’t no colonel anymore; you are just a lousy prisoner like me. You take care of yourself, and i will take care of me.” The soldier died of dysentery a few days later. 


4) The captors would even deliver overdue bill from collection agencies back home within less than two weeks of the original postmark. The effect were devastating: The soldiers had nothing to live for and lost basic belief in themselves and their loved ones, not to mention God and country. 


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.