The Big Rocks
One day an expert in time management was speaking to a group of
business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration
those students will never forget. As he stood in front of the group
of high powered over-achievers he said, "Okay, time for a quiz."
Then he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed Mason jar and set
it on the table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen
fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into
the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks
would fit inside, he asked, "Is this jar full?"
Everyone in the class said, "Yes."
Then he said, "Really?" He reached under the table and pulled
out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the
jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the
space between the big rocks.
Then he asked the group once more, "Is the jar full?"
By this time the class was on to him. "Probably not," one of
"Good!" he replied. He reached under the table and brought out
a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in the jar and it
went into all of the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel.
Once more he asked the question, "Is this jar full?"
"No!" the class shouted.
Once again he said, "Good."
Then he grabbed a pitcher 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?"
One eager beaver 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 in it!"
"No," the speaker replied, "that's not the point. The truth
this illustration teaches us is: If you don't put the big rocks in
first, you'll never get them in at all."
What are the 'big rocks' in your life?
Lighter Side Archive