Fill Your Life With Rocks

By October 7, 2019 blog


Today, I want to share a favorite story of mine often told by college professors and speakers, about setting priorities and staying focused on the important things. It goes like this:

A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items on the table in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, about 2 inches in diameter.
He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.
He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “Yes.”
“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
“The pebbles are the other things that matter – like your job, your house, your car.
“The sand is everything else. The small stuff.
“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life.
“If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are truly important to you.”
What an important lesson! We need to pay attention to the things that are necessary for our happiness.
Be present. Play with your kids. Go on a date with your partner. Sit and talk with your parents or grandparents. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, or do the laundry.
Don’t fill your life with sand. Set your priorities and take care of the most important things first.