The Dipper and The Bucket

ladle spoon

I came across a new blog this week (Bucking The Trend), and one of the articles on it really hit home. It was about living a more meaningful and deliberate life, where the blogger listed out about 15 or so DO’s and DON’Ts to live by. Keeping his family and kids in the forefront of his thinking.

Here were some of my favorite lines from it:

  • DO be thankful for what you have and not resentful of what you don’t.
  • DO NOT feel like you ‘deserve’ anything.
  • DO have integrity – do what you say and say what you do.  You’d be amazed how far you can get by simply showing up when you say you will.
  • DO NOT care what others think of you.

And then my most favorite:

  • DO be a bucket-filler and not a bucket-dipper.

I had never heard of those phrases before (have you?), but I clicked over to learn more since it reminded me a lot of “the mayonnaise jar” parable we recently blogged about. And apparently it’s a big thing with children, so being the father that I am I of course have to stay on top of these things 😉

And I’m glad I did. Here’s what it all means:

The “Bucket Fill-osophy”

Each one 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 is empty, we feel awful.

Each of us has an invisible dipper.

When we use that dipper to fill other people’s buckets,
by saying or doing things to increase their positive emotions, we
also fill our own bucket.

But when we use that dipper to dip from others’ buckets, by doing
or saying things that decrease their positive 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 is
stronger and more optimistic.

But an empty bucket poisons our outlook, saps our energy, and
undermines our will. That’s why every time someone dips
from our bucket, 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 influences our
relationships, productivity, health, and happiness.

So, so, true. And it relates to money too, even though it’s not stated so. How many times have you looked down upon someone based on a financial move they’ve made?? Or said something to them, or behind their back, just because you’re jealous as hell? (*raises hand*)

According to this bucket philosophy, it’s best to keep it to yourself and instead put out more positive words into the universe. Which isn’t always easy to do – at least in terms of kicking out those negative thoughts before they leave our mouths 😉 – but of course it would certainly make the world a better place. Even if just your immediate world around you.

Something to think about today as we celebrate Memorial Day and all that our past brothers and sisters have done for us over the years. This philosophy may have been created for kids, but Lord knows we adults need the reminders too!

PS: There’s also a book on this bucket stuff if you like what it’s about: Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids. I’ll definitely be picking one up for my three boys 🙂

PPS: This post was edited and re-shared since it’s first publication in 2013…  Thought it needed another light shined on it after being tucked away for so long!

[Photo up top by: Yusuke D.]


[For more $$$ nuggets, head over to Budgets Are Sexy!]


You may also like