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‘One day a savvy teacher was invited to speak to a group of successful managers about managing time. He looked at the managers and said: “we are going to do an experiment”. He pulled out a large glass jar and set it on the table in front of him. Then he took out about a dozen big stones and placed them, one by one, into the jar. When the jar was full and no more stones could fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?”

Everyone answered, “Yes.”
“Are you sure?” he asked.

“Let’s see.” He reached under the table, pulled out some gravel and dumped it in. He shook the jar, causing the gravel to work itself down into the crevices between the big stones. Then he asked the audience again, “Is the jar full?”

The audience was catching on quickly. “Probably not,” one of them answered.
“Right!” he replied. He then brought out a bucket of sand. He started pouring the sand into the spaces between the stones and the gravel.

When he was finished, he asked again, “Is this jar full?” This time everybody shouted “No”. “Correct!” he replied.

Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and poured it in until the jar was full to the brim. The managers looked at the full jar, then looked back at the old lecturer.

The lecturer looked back at the audience and asked: “What is the big truth we can learn from this experiment?”

One of the managers responded, “no matter how full your schedule is, if you really try hard, you can always fit some more things into it!”

The teacher said, “That’s probably true, but this is not the main point”, he said.
The room grew silent as everyone contemplated the meaning of these wise words.

The old teacher looked again at the audience and asked: “What are the big stones in your life? Family? Relationships? Health? Spirituality? Fulfilling your dreams? To do what you really love to do?

The first thing is to identify what is most important and valuable to us. Without getting your big stones in place first, they will never ever get in. You can be busy playing around with the gravel, sand and water in your life (the peripheral, miscellaneous and day-to-day activities) and your “big stones” will always be left out, with no room for them in your life. Are you working to get the big stones in place? Or have you neglected them?

Without getting your big stones in place first, they will never ever get in. You can be busy playing around with the gravel, sand and water in your life (the peripheral, miscellaneous and day-to-day activities) and your “big stones” will always be left out, with no room for them in your life.

If we do not consciously attend to our big stones, we will never get to them. Don’t push them to a ‘later’ or ‘next time’. The big stones do not fall into place by themselves. There will always be room in our life for the gravel, sand and water, no matter when or where. But for there to be room to place our big stones, we need to deliberately make the decision to put them in first. Start to consciously take action and get your big stones in. Only then you will start to gain the big payoffs and rewards you wish for in your life.

Taken from Unlock Bliss by Dr Zeev Gilkis. 

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