Do You Know How to Fill the Bucket?
retold by Michael Cloud
One day, a Business Management professor walked into his class with a bucket.
"Do you know how to fill the bucket?" he asked his students.
Some rolled their eyes. Others thought, 'What a stupid question.' A few leaned
The professor put six large stones into the bucket. They came up to the top
"Is the bucket full?" asked the professor.
"Of course," said several students.
"Are you sure?"
The professor took out a bag of gravel and emptied it into the bucket until the
gravel spilled over.
"Is the bucket full now?" he asked.
The class seemed unsure.
The professor shook the bucket to let the stones and gravel settle, took out a
bag of sand and poured it in between the gravel and stones.
"Is the bucket full now?"
"No," shout the students.
The professor took out a pitcher of water and poured it into the bucket until
"What have you learned from this demonstration?" he asked.
"That we can always find room for more in our workdays," said one student.
"Not to be so quick to judge what is or is not possible," answered another.
"To be cautious when someone asks us an obvious question," said a third.
"Good answers," said the professor. "But here's the big lesson: unless you put
in the Big Stones first, you'll never be able to put them in later."
A simple and important lesson for libertarian communicators.
Do you know how to fill the bucket in your political conversations?
Do you start with the Big Stones: Big Government vs. small government? Or do
you let the other person fill the conversation with gravel and sand -- issues
that do not shrink government or expand liberty?
Do you focus the conversation on Big Stones: government spending, size, and
power? Or do you let current events drive the discussion into sand and water
Do you bring the discussion back to Big Stones: the costly and destructive
nature of Big Government programs? Or do you let the other person fill the
bucket with the gravel, sand, and water of incompetence, corruption or why
the other guys are even worse?
You fill the bucket every day. Every conversation.
When you fill the bucket, what will you start with? What will you concentrate
on? Big Stones -- or gravel, sand, or water?
The vital -- or the less important, the unimportant, or the downright trivial?
Knowing how to fill the bucket is important.
But doing it is the Biggest Stone.
* * * * * * * *
Michael Cloud is author of the acclaimed book "Secrets of Libertarian
Persuasion" available exclusively from the Advocates:
http://www.TheAdvocates.org/secrets.html. In 2000, Michael was honored with the
Thomas Paine Award as the Most Persuasive Libertarian Communicator in America.