The Rocks and The Jar

By Robin Bush, ISR Communications

I recently read a story offered in an email by Farnam Street that described a lesson we could all learn from.  Here is how it went:  It described a high school teacher who brought in a large mouth jar to his science class.  He put large rocks in the jar and asked, “Is it full?” The class answered, “Yes!”

Then he poured some gravel into the jar, and the gravel filled in the spaces between the big rocks.  He asked again, “Is it full?” Most answered, “Yes!”

Then he poured in some sand which filled in the spaces between the gravel, and asked again, “Is it full?”  Many still replied, “Yes!”

Then he poured water into the jar, which saturated the sand.  He asked his students what the point was of this, to which one replied, “However much you have in your life schedule, you can always squeeze in some more.”

The teacher shook his head and said, “No, the point is, you need to place the big rocks in first, or you will never get them in.  Think of the big rocks as the important things in your life – family, friends, and whatever matters most to you.  If you fill your life with the small things (the gravel, sand, and water), you will never have the time or space for the big things.  Next time you are setting goals, evaluating your progress, or are hassled by insufficient time, remember the big rocks.”

Thank you Farnam Street for the inspiration.