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Big Rocks and Little Rocks
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Published: 17 years ago

Big Rocks and Little Rocks

One day, an expert in time-management was speaking to a
class of college students. At the
end of his presentation, he said,
"Okay, it's time for a quiz."

The expert reached into a large duffel bag, and pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed Mason jar.
He set it on the table in front of him. Then he produced a dozen, fist-sized rocks, and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the

When the jar was filled to the top
with rocks, he looked at the class
and said, "Is this jar full?"

Everyone in the class said, "Yes!"

"Really?" said the expert. He reached into the bag, and pulled out
a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped
some gravel into the jar and shook it. This caused the gravel to work itself down into the spaces between
the rocks.

The expert looked at the students and said, "Is the jar full?"

By this time, the class was on to him. "Probably not," one of them answered.

"Good!" the expert replied. He reached into the duffel bag, and brought out a box of sand. He poured
the sand into the jar, and it filled
all the spaces between the rocks and
the gravel.

Once more, he asked the question, "Is this jar full?"

"NO!" the class shouted. The expert
smiled and said, "Good."

Then he pulled out a container of water and poured it into the jar,
right up to the top.

The class waited breathlessly. The
time-management expert looked at them and said, "What is the point of
this illustration?"

One eager-beaver student raised his
hand and said, "The point is, no
matter how full your schedule is,
if you try really hard, you can always fit some more things into it."

"NO," the speaker replied. "That's
not the point at all. The truth that
this illustration teaches us is this: If you don't put the big rocks
in FIRST, you'll never get them in
at all."

End of story. Which brings us to the
question, "What are the Big Rocks in
your life? Your children? Your spouse? Your job? Your health? Time
to yourself? A creative project?
Travel? Your dreams? A worthy cause?
Teaching or mentoring others?"

Whatever you choose, remember to put
those BIG ROCKS in first, or you'll
never get them in at all. Don't
sweat the small stuff (the gravel and sand). Try not to fill up your
life with little things that really
aren't important.

Just before you go to bed each night, and just after you awaken
each morning, ask yourself this
question: "What are the Big Rocks in
my life?"

Then make sure you put those in the
jar first.


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