Positive strategies were developed by the psychologist Donald O. Clifton. Clifton is considered to be the father of positive psychology, or what is right with a person, instead of the traditional approach to psychology of what is wrong with a person. There are five positive strategies that Clifton writes about in his book “How Full Is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life”. These five strategies can be used to increase personal happiness and productivity as well of the happiness and productivity of those people who interact with anyone employing the strategies. 

Clifton first became interested in the power of positive psychology when reading about a very interesting, and now famous, psychological case study. This case study descried the reasons for the high death rate for U.S. prisoners of war during the Korean war. The U.S. prisoner of war death rate was higher in the Korean War than any other American war in history, because the North Koreans used harsh psychological techniques. They didn’t use any form of physical or mental torture, they simply made the U.S. soldier feel lonely and hopeless. Over half of the prisoners deaths can be attributed to the loss of any will to live. 

After reviewing the case study, Clifton wanted to know if the opposite techniques of those used by the North Koreans could be used to improve the quality of a person’s life. The answer he found was that a person’s life can be improved if they implement the following five positive strategies. 

Prevent Bucket Dipping. 

Bucket dipping is basically insulting someone or making a negative remark towards someone. It also means that a person who is preventing bucket dipping must never insult or criticize another person. Clifton writes that when a person has a ratio of five positive interaction to one negative interaction, they greatly increase there odds of living a healthier, more productive, longer life.  

Shine a LIght on What is Right.

The second of the positive strategies requires a person to focus on the positive qualies of another person, not the fact that they have flaws. This is the opposite of what the North Koreans did when they required the prisoners to describe what faults they had, while in front of a group of there peers. Shining a light on what is right requires someone to go one step further than focusing on a persons positive qualities, it requires that he or she lets the other person know what their good qualities are. 


Make Best Friends. 

Clifton refers to studies that find that the happiest people tend to have high quality social relationships. They also find that workplaces where employees report having one or more best friends as coworkers, operate at higher levels of productivity. 

Give Unexpectedly. 

Giving unexpectedly means doing something kind or perhaps giving someone a physical gift, when they don’t expect it. Gifts given out of the blue are remembered and appreciated much more than gifts given as the result of a particular occasions. Clifton sates that the gift can be large or small, tangible or not. The most important quality that the gift can possess is that it is unexpected. 

Reverse the Golden Rule. 

The final strategy of the five positive strategies is to “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.” Each individual has a different set of values and priorities. Discover what makes a person feel appreciated then provide whatever it is to the person.  

Overall the positive strategies will make any one using them feel happier and they will make everyone around that individual happier.