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 overachievers, he said, "Okay, time for a quiz."
Then he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouth Mason jar and set it on the table in front of him.
He then 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."

The expert 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
spaces between the big rocks.  He asked the group once more, "Is this jar full?"

By this time the class was on to him.  "Probably not," one of them answered.

"Good!" he replied.  He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand.
He started dumping the sand into 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 into 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?  Your children...Your loved ones...Your education...Your
dreams...A worthy cause...Teaching or mentoring others...Doing things that you love...Time
for yourself...Your health...Your significant other.  remember to put these BIG ROCKS in first
or you'll never get them in at all.  If you sweat the little stuff (the gravel, the sand) then
you'll fill your life with little things you worry about that don't really matter, and you'll never
have the real quality time you need to spend on the big, important stuff (the big rocks).

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 life?  Then, put those in your jar first.