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Steven Covey tells a story about a demonstration he witnessed that helps to clarify how we place priorities in our lives. It goes like this.
The seminar he was attending began this way. Reaching under the table, the seminar leader pulled out a wide mouthed gallon jar and set it on the table next to a platter covered with fist-sized rocks. “How many of these rocks do you think we can get in the jar?” he asked the audience.
After the students made their guesses, the teacher said,
“Okay, let’s find out.” He put one rock in the jar, then another, then another–until no more rocks would fit. Then he asked, “Is the jar full?”
Everybody could see that not one more of the rocks would fit, so they said, “Yes.”
“Not so fast,” he cautioned. From under the table he lifted out a bucket of gravel, dumped it in the jar, and shook it. The gravel slid into all the little spaces left by the big rocks. Grinning, the seminar
leader asked once more, “Is the jar full?”
A little wiser by now, the students responded, “Probably not.”
“Good,” the teacher said. Then he reached under the table to bring up a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in the jar. While the students watched, the sand filled in the little spaces left by the
rocks and gravel. Once more he looked at the class and said, “Now, is the jar full?”
“No,” everyone shouted back.
“Good!” said the seminar leader, who then grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it into the jar. He got something like a quart of water into that jar before he said, “Ladies and gentlemen, the jar
is now full. Can anybody tell me the lesson you can learn from this? What’s my point?”
An eager participant spoke up: “Well, there are gaps in your schedule. And if you really work at it, you can always fit more into your life.”
“No,” the leader said. “That’s not the point. The point is this, if I hadn’t put those big rocks in first, I would never have gotten them in.”
My question to you is, What are your Big Rocks?
Something to consider:
- What did you hear in this story?
- What do you think?
- What will you do?