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Filling the Bucket

A man and his son are working outdoors. The father says to his son, “Grab that bucket over there, go down to the well, and fill it with water. Bring it back when you are done.” The dutiful son does as he as told. He grabs the bucket, heads down to the well, attaches the bucket to the rope pulley and lowers it down.

Upon pulling it up, he realizes that the bucket has a giant hole on the bottom of it and all of the water has drained out. He runs back to his father and says, “Dad, the bucket has a big hole in it, I can’t fill it with water.”

The dad barks back, “F**k it! fill it anyways!”
— Unknown

Now, I heard this story while I was serving in the U.S. Army. At that time, I thought it was a metaphor for no matter what bullshit you are dealt with, just deal with it and move on. I also thought it meant, "Do what you are told no matter what!". However, many years and many ruminations later I reflect back on this little anecdote and realize that it means something completely different; at least as it pertains to business.

If something isn't working, fix it or find a better way to do it.

...and on the flip side of that coin...

If something is working, don't monkey with it.


In any industry, the amount of ego and machismo thrown around on a daily basis that we deal with is in my eyes is unnecessary and an excessive waste of time. Bad decision making in your business can cost you thousands if not millions of dollars depending on the scope of your organization. I see it daily from people and all levels. Sometimes ego doesn't get in the way but 95% of the time it does and it's nauseating and costly. published an article(albeit a canned SEO article) back in 2015 called, "5 Bad Decision-Making Habits That Can Destroy Your Business". The #1 item in the post is "Not doing the research."


For the past couple of years I've been dealing with a client that doesn't understand the principles one of my key services nor how it serves them. They most likely skimmed an article or two off the internet(tisk tisk) and now they are an expert! They can't seem to figure out the perceived rubric of how something works or doesn't work for them. Through ego and sheer ignorance they will continue to monkey with a system that works, and when it ceases to work, they still won't understand...until their sales are in the red or they go out of business

F**k it? fill it anyways?

Now this isn't a rant. It creates a perplexing situation. One one hand, "Do as you are told" and keep the client 'happy'. On the other hand if you point out factual information, and they are perceived as being the ignorant party in the equation(if they are that low-minded)....well, as an old mentor and acquaintance of mine once said, "Ego is a funny thing".


You potentially can either lose that client or convince a more enlightened member of their team of the truth. Sometimes I feel a sign should be erected in a companies doorway in the morning before they get to work. You know the kind, an industrial road sign with a yellow alert flashing strobe light attached that says simply, "Beware! Extreme dillweeds are sabotaging your business!". I suppose that is crass, but it's the ugly truth.

Do your research, then fix it or find a better way to do it. 

Umm yeahhh.... that'd be great. Thanks!

Pete WilliamsComment