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
will never forget.
As he stood in front of the group of high-powered overachievers he
"Okay, time for a quiz" and he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouth mason
jar and set it on the table in front of him. He also produced about a
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
"Is this jar full?" Everyone in the class yelled, "Yes."
The time management expert replied, "Really?" He reached under the
table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. He dumped some gravel in and shook
jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces
the big rocks. He then asked the group once more, "Is the jar full?"
By this time the class was on to him. "Probably not," one of them
"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
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
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, time with your loved ones, your
faith, your education, your dreams, a worthy cause, teaching or mentoring
others? Remember to put these big rocks in first or you'll never get them
in at all. So, tonight, or in the morning, when you are reflecting on this
short story, ask yourself this question: What are the 'big rocks' in my
Then, put those in your jar first.