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The Big Rocks: A Parable

by: Author Unknown, Source Unknown


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" 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 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 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 the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between 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 answered.

"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? 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 life? Then, put those in your jar first.

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Awesome parable..

Almost didn't recognize the new handle. :)

Cudnohofshefski? original Polish.

There are dozens of contracted versions - some more unfortunate than others...

Chris Indeedski!

Daily Paul cured my abibliophobia.

Could Nohofs chef ski? Who the heck is Nohof?

It's like a question built into a last name! Could you imagine the anagrams from that one?

Mike Wasowski!

Mike Wasowski!



A philosopher Cheesehead!

My boss told me during my first day on the job, his priority was God, family, the Green Bay Packers, and (my unnamed place of employment). I thought he was nuts. It turns out he was just from Northeastern Wisconsin.

Thanks for the inspiring post!

But to me you'll always be know as Chris "The Onion" Sidewalkowski.

"I'm Ron Paul." - Ron Paul

sidewalkowski - I love it.

I might go with 'Cudnawski' next time. Keep it simple.

Chris Indeedski!

Daily Paul cured my abibliophobia.

Chris, seeing all these name changes of yours...

...reminds me of the mannequin scenes in the movie The Time Machine

Chris Cyberwiscoski

you rock!!!

"It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere".

It's hard not to be a menace to society when half the population is happy on their knees. - unknown

Thanks. Cyberwisconski - I might use that one some


Chris Indeedski!

Daily Paul cured my abibliophobia.

Michael Nystrom's picture


for another classic from the back catalogue.

springtime fundraiser idea - make signs that say

(Image of squirrel)
Xing next 8 miles

I mean, right?

Chris Indeedski!

Daily Paul cured my abibliophobia.

Yeah you should replace that ham story with this one...

And update my profile pic while you're at it - it's 70% less blotchy!

Chris Indeedski!

Daily Paul cured my abibliophobia.

Michael Nystrom's picture

The ham story is a good one too

This one will find its way up there as well.

BTW, you just reminded me. You're not the only one with a back catalogue:

Republished here:

This is your life on the rocks

You're full of crap Granger.

Call me later.

Chris Indeedski!

Daily Paul cured my abibliophobia.



Chris Indeedski!

Daily Paul cured my abibliophobia.