UPDATED: “Bucket of Shit Story” with BONUS Life Lessons

“Bucket of Shit”

Adapted by Robin Mohilner

Author Unknown



We all come into this world with two things:

A bucket of shit AND a shovel.


What matters in life is not what causes the shit in our buckets.

What matters is what we do with the shit we have.



Now we have some options for what we can do with our shit and our shovel:


1.) We can spend our life digging through the shit to figure out what it is and where it came from.

The shit won’t change. It will still be shit. But we have every right to sift through our shit and smell it for as long as we want.



2.) We can use our shovel to take our shit and put it in other people’s buckets.

Then we get to say, “I have no shit! This is your shit!”



3.) We can stick our shovels into other people’s bucket of shit and use our shovel to carry their shit into our bucket.

Doing this will allow us to take responsibility for everyone elses’ shit.

Everything will be our fault. We will stink and feel bad.

(This is what we do when we take things personally, by the way)



4.) We can use our own shovel to protect our bucket of shit to keep other people’s shit out of our bucket and keep ourselves from giving other people the shit that belongs to us.



Now when it comes to the shit itself…we have some options….


We can hide the shit from the world and pretend that we don’t have shit.


We can go around being stinky and unkind to each other.




We can use the shit as fertilizer and plant the things that we desire to grow in our lives.



What you do with your shovel and bucket of shit is up to you.




Life Lessons I’ve Learned:

This is a work in progress…


  • Whatever you take personally…good or bad…goes into your bucket.

It will either make our shit fertile for growth & plant seeds for us to nurture OR it will weigh down our bucket & weeds will grow.

We get to choose what seeds we plant & nurture. We need to practice this daily.

We also  must become be really good at recognizing weeds & throwing them away so they don’t kill the life growing in our bucket.

  • The world is full of shit-flingers.

If anyone is ever mean, cruel, nasty or downright evil toward you, EVER….they are flinging shit at you from their bucket.

If you take it personally you are adding their shit to YOUR bucket.

Use your shovel wisely against shit flingers, protect your bucket.


  • Our focus / attention and how we think about our shit, determines how much shit we have.

Our shit is are far less about what happens to us and mostly about what we tell ourselves about shit.

If we see humor in our shit, acceptance of our shit and take responsibility for our shit by keeping it in our own buckets…it is nice and contained and not overwhelming.

We can ask ourselves questions like:

“What can I learn from this shit?”

“What shit do I have control or influence over and what shit is beyond my control?”

“What do I want instead of this shit?”

…and allow our shit to be something productive that is useful and of worth to us making the shit a gift in our lives.


If we focus more on the shit itself than we do on what we can grow from it and in it…we actually can end up creating MORE shit.

How?  By focusing on shit without a purpose (such as venting to release it  / catharsis – an emotional release) it is so easy to find more things to add to it and make our buckets overflow in an uncontrolled way.

For instance, if someone is having a bad day and says, “My life sucks.”

Feeling that way will make the bucket feel really heavy that day….which is normal and fine.

But, often times we all dig deeper into why life sucks and create this huge exacerbated list:

“No one on Facebook “liked”or made comments on my post…no one likes me…I don’t have real friends.

“My kitchen is a mess, every time I turn around there are more dishes for me to wash and the bathroom never stays clean…everything in my life is out of control…I can’t take this.”

“My kids won’t stop screaming and asking questions that I don’t know the answer too and they never sleep…they are driving me crazy…I am a horrible mother.”

“I was late for work yesterday and spilled water all over  myself and looked like I peed in my pants…it messed up my entire presentation.  I let everyone down.”

“I completely messed up a project at work because I didn’t get the updated numbers, my colleagues think I’m an idiot and my boss will probably fire me.”

“Last week my friend got mad at me and said they don’t want to be my friend anymore for the fifth time in two weeks….They will never be my friend again.  I don’t know what to do.”


The list is full of common reasons I have heard for people’s lives sucking.  I’m not making fun of anyone who feels this way or being insensitive.

However, I believe that taking an incident or stress and generalizing it to our entire lives is not accurate and not helpful.

Our lists are often full of assumptions about what is happening or what people are thinking AND they exacerbate problems.

By the time we are done making the list, we’re standing in a mountain of shit up to our necks and we cannot get out.


  • Who we surround ourselves by will have a huge impact on what grows in our bucket.

People who primarily focus on the negatives…what doesn’t work, what could go wrong, why not to try, reasons to give up etc…may be really good people with good intentions, but it is like they are blocking the sun from our buckets and getting in the way of our growth.

They may provide us with rain.  Rain is good, we need it to grow…BUT too much rain will wash away our fertile soil and drown our seeds.  We must choose where we get our rain from wisely.

People who focus on possibility, opportunity and gratitude will only add to our buckets.  They will be like sunshine for our seeds.  And when it is raining, they will help us remember the value of the rain, instead of us focusing on the storm and how depressing the storm is.

These people are the people who doing our best and giving life whatever we can each day…both on the really good days and when it feels like life is working against us.

These people won’t always be shining bright because they are human.  But their outlook on life and their way of being in the world, is a provider of light and warmth.