Build a Portfolio Career

Building a Portfolio Career

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Rocks and Sand of your Life

The tutor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty glass jar and proceeded to fill it with big rocks. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the tutor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the big rocks. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The tutor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous - - yes.

The tutor then produced a can of beer from under the table and proceeded to pour it into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the tutor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognise that this jar represents your life. The big rocks are the important things - - your family, your partner, your health, your children, your friends, your favourite passions - - things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full."

"The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car.
The sand is everything else - - the small stuff."

"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the big rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Fall in love. Spend time with your friends. Take your partner out for a meal. There will always be time to go to work, go to the gym, give a dinner party and clean the car.

Take care of the big rocks first - - the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented. The tutor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a drink!"

Mid Lifers are often confused over their priorities - should I change my job? Should I take early retirement? Do I really still love my partner? Am I saving enough for retirement?

Sort out the 'Big Rocks' in your life before you make any big decisions. The results of your prioritisation may make the difference between a big win and a succession of regrets!
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  1. I've always believe that the big rocks are the most important... however, there have been times when I've allowed the sand and beer to become too important.

    I've been so ever grateful that the rocks (my family) have still been there when I put the sand and beers back into proper perspective.

    I would say... that it's wise to evaluate our priorities frequently. Great post.

  2. Thanks for the post. It's great to be able to re-evaluate your life to make sure you put the important things first.

    This is so important & most people tend to forget. Thanks for the reminder :-)

  3. The big rocks are what I live for. Without family, friends and health, where would I be then. This blog post reminds us how important time is, and how we prioritize what matters most.