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Set Your Priorities The Rest Is Just Sand

Here we are, too much time, too little time, 24 hours is too long, no, too short. Where is the balance?

The story of an old but gold analogy of rocks, pebbles and sand which you may remember may be a timely reminder of what matters.

At a famous business school, many years ago, an extraordinary lecture was demonstrated by a philosophy professor with just your good old stones, pebbles and sand.

Without explaining what he was doing, he carefully placed a big glass jar on the desk in front of his students. Then, in view of puzzled students, he brought out a bag full of stones and placed them one by one in the jar, until no more could fit in. He asked the class, “Is the jar full?” The answer was a definite “YES”.

With a smile on his lips, the professor took from beneath the desk, a bag full of gravel and managed to fill them into the space left in the jar of stones and asked his students, “Is the jar full?” The answer with careful consideration was a “NO” (they were on to him, ha ha).

Then he filled the jar with fine sand and asked the students, “Is the jar full?” The answer was “Probably not”, looking at each other (there is a string attached, they must have thought, he he).

Grinning at their answer, the cheeky professor brought out a small jug of water and poured it into the jar full of stones, gravel and sand and when he could not fill in any more water, he looked up at the class serenely and asked, “What does this teach you?”

One student, I am sure the smarty pants of that famous business school, offered “No matter how busy your schedule, you can fit more!”

With a booming emphasis on “NO”, the professor said, get the big ones in first.

Most definitely a big lesson in priorities for us all.

The jar is the representation of life, rocks the important things with real value, the pebbles are the others that matter and the sand is the small stuff. Spending big chunks of our precious time and energy on the small, stuff takes away time and energy from important things in life.

Set your priorities by identifying the important things in life, set time and focus, don’t forget to squeeze in a bit of laughter to add the glitter of happiness in setting the priorities right, and the rest is just sand.

Mahes Karuppiah-Quillen N.D.

Health & Lifestyle Consultant

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