This summer I started reading The Tipping Point. I didn’t finish it.
This summer I started to listen to The World Is Flat on audiobook. I didn’t finish it.
This summer I started reading How Full is Your Bucket?. I finished it.
I’ll be the first to admit that I ended last school year on a negative foot. Without getting too detailed, I declare it was simply the year of a Perfect Storm. Lots of factors compounded each day, making it harder and harder to be the positive, chipper educator I used to (and wanted to) be. So this summer, as I sat through one of the worst classes I’ve ever attended, I did find one piece to grab ahold of and investigate further.
In between my graduate professor having us match up with our “elbow partners” to discuss the “most important point” and taking turns reading the subheadings on the book-provided PowerPoint, my professor mentioned Tom Rath’s book, How Full is Your Bucket? The text is built on the simple metaphor of a full bucket equating a fulfilling, positive life. Each interaction either adds or subtracts a scoop of water into each person’s bucket. While this is nothing revoluationary, it does help me, the visiual learner, to imagine this image during each interaction.
The book ends with the author challenging readers to spend a week mentally noting the “bucket effect” of each interaction: Did you just add or subtract to that person’s bucket? What did they do to your bucket? What words or tones made it that way. Can they be changed?
Rath challenges readers to practice a 5:1 “magic ratio” of bucket filling to bucket draining and cites more than enough statistical research to show how this ratio increasing productivity, your pleasure to be around, and even whitens your teeth (just making sure you’re still paying attention).
So as I enter a new year, I’m out of the negativity rut. And I’m positive about it.