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Last year I read a simple, interesting book called “How Full is Your Bucket.”

I didn’t realize it at the time, but the book was extremely influential on me. Even now, rarely does a week go by where I do not think of the book’s simple message and see how helpful it is in living the full life.

The Argument:

Despite being based in decades of scientific research, the concept is so simple it could be in a kid’s book (actually, it is in a kid’s book). Everybody has an imaginary “bucket” and “ladle.” When you say something encouraging or positive to another person, you fill their bucket. Most of us realize this, but we fail to notice that filling another person’s bucket also fills our own bucket.

Conversely, when we say something degrading or negative to another person, we dip out of their bucket. Again, when we dip out of someone’s bucket, we also dip out of our own bucket. It’s ironic, because most people who say condescending things are trying to feel better about themselves, but ultimately it makes them feel worse.

Negativity breeds negativity, and positivity creates positivity. The book had several fascinating case studies. Businesses around the country with negative work environments or negative employees lose billions of dollars every year compared to those in positive environments. They also predicted marriage success rates incredibly accurately after observing couples positive and negative interactions for merely 15 minutes. Continue Reading…