Focus on Filling Someone’s Bucket

My 9-year-old daughter’s New Year’s Resolution was to fill someone’s bucket each day. The idea stemmed from the book Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids by Carol McCloud.

The theme of the book is that all of us have invisible buckets, and they need to be filled. We can fill other people’s buckets through acts of kindness. Conversely, bullying or saying snide remarks about someone might trick us into feeling good in the moment, but such behavior is stealing from another person’s bucket. The joy you steal from that person’s bucket can’t be placed into your bucket. In fact, bullying, berating, or other negative activities depletes not only the other person’s bucket, but your bucket as well.

Instead of asking my daughters what they did that day, the response to which every parent knows is, “nothing,” I began asking, ”Whose bucket did you fill today? Whose day did you make better? Who made you smile today? Asking these questions—and expecting their answers—helped me begin looking for buckets to fill, and I was grateful when someone filled mine as well.

It’s also helping me avoid becoming upset about little things, and they are all little. “I told the waiter three times no cheese on my kid’s hamburger. How hard is it to do your job!” While it’s easier said than done, when I’m feeling upset this month, I’m pausing, breathing, and trying to flip the situation by asking “whose bucket can I fill?”


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About the Author: Erik Qualman

Often called a Digital Dale Carnegie and The Tony Robbins of Tech, Erik Qualman is a #1 Best Selling Author and Motivational Keynote Speaker that has spoken in 49 countries.

His Socialnomics work has been featured on 60 Minutes to the Wall Street Journal and used by the National Guard to NASA. His book Digital Leader propelled him to be voted the 2nd Most Likeable Author in the World behind Harry Potter's J.K. Rowling. Qualman is a sitting professor at Harvard & MIT's edX labs.

His latest book What Happens in Vegas Stays on YouTube is a Pulitzer Prize nominated work.
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