What Matters Most?

We want to re-tell a story about priorities. If you’ve heard it, it will be a welcome reminder. If you haven’t, we’re thrilled to introduce you to it.

A professor, standing in front a full lecture hall, pulled out a one-gallon, mason jar and set it on the table. He shortly thereafter added a dozen fist-sized rocks to the jar, adding them one at a time. When the jar was filled, and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?”

Everyone in the class yelled, “Yes.”

He replied, “Really?”

He pulled out a bucket of gravel. Slowly, he poured gravel into the jar, shaking it and adding more. The gravel worked itself down into the spaces between the large rocks. He then asked the group again, “Is the jar full?”

Most, having caught on by now, replied “Probably not”

“Good!” he replied. He pulled out a bucket of sand. Slowly, he poured sand into the jar, shaking it and adding more. Soon, all of the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel became filled with sand. Again he asked, “Is this jar full?”

“No!” the entire lecture hall shouted.

“Good!” he replied. He pulled out a bucket of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked at the class and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?”

A student replied, “The point is, no matter how full your day is you can always fit some more stuff in it!”

“No,” the professor replied. This illustration teaches us something else, if we don’t put the big rocks in first, we’ll never get them in at all. These big rocks, then, become the priority otherwise they get pushed out of the equation all together.

What are your ‘big rocks’ — time with loved ones, your spiritual practice, your values, your dreams? When you reflect on this short story, ask yourself: What are the ‘big rocks’ in my life? Then, ask yourself if you are putting those in your jar first. If that process is difficult for you, our skilled coaches are here to help! Request a free consultation today.


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