Rath challenges the reader to use five strategies to fill the buckets of others and your own bucket with positive emotional strength. I compete in bench rest shooting matches. The bench rest shooting crowd is societally diverse in many ways, ethnically, economically, politically, and religiously. But there is one common thread that runs through most of the shooters, they are no BS people! Try and finesse them with smooth talk and they will quickly tell you where to go and how to get there! This past week I went to two bench rest matches as part of an Ohio State team. Armed with my two target guns and a fresh read of the book How Full is Your Bucket by Tom Rath I entered the no BS zone!
• Prevent (Stop) Bucket Dipping. Cynicism ran strong during the days of shooting and on numerous occasions I found myself ready to make negative comments if for no other reason than to ‘fit in’ to the conversations. I must say, I had to make a conscious concerted effort but I was largely successful. And, it was good! The reminder to be positive corresponds to the Biblical injunction in Philippians 4:8, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” I think this first strategy was by far the most personally beneficial.
• Shine Light on what is Right. The man who ran one of the matches was as crusty as they get. He is a retired military sergeant and presently serves as a union official and prison guard supervisor. Talk about a no-nonsense guy! He enforces his rules by saying, “my way or the highway!” I approached him just to get acquainted and listened for the opportunity to affirm him. I did so and it was like magic! He actually approached me several times later just to say hello. He actually made an effort to talk with me before I departed to say that he was glad that I came to the match. My friends were amazed!
• Make Best Friends. One of the men with whom I traveled was particularly friendly. He was easy to talk with and interested in many different topics. He expressed some issues he was facing and I was able to listen and offer some questions that I thought would help him to process those issues. We shared a room together and had many opportunities have significant conversations. We are on the way to developing a good friendship.
• Give Unexpectedly. Another of our traveling mates was an older guy who is always ready to help others with their shooting problems. He is very sacrificial with his time and resources. The other two travelers and myself decided to do something special for him and we took him out for a special stop at an ice cream shop. He mentioned that he really likes ice cream and he really appreciated it. I made a clear statement of my appreciation and the other two chimed in (they did not know about the book). This episode taught me that giving can be ‘catchy!’
• Reverse the Golden Rule. I was able to put this into practice on the last day of our shooting trip. The driver is an individual who is very detail oriented and has little patience for those who are not proactive with their planning. I made a special effort to assist him with the loading of the truck with our supplies and I particularly put things in the order in which I thought he would want to load. I was amazed at how appreciative he was. He even mentioned to the others that he was grateful for that help because it enabled him to have more time to interact with some friends rather than take so long to load the truck.
The book contained no new information but it was and is a good reminder concerning our interpersonal relationships.