Inspiration

A jar with rocks, pebbles, and sand – what would you do?

Written by: Nick Ortner

Today, I want to do a super simple mental exercise together than can help us to consider our priorities and how we choose to spend our time.

First, imagine a large, clear jar.

Next to it, imagine a bowl of rocks (each a few inches in diameter), a bowl of small pebbles, and a bowl of fine sand.  

Now, imagine what would happen if you poured all the sand into the jar first; it would fill up a large portion of the jar. And if you poured the pebbles in next, the jar would fill up even more – leaving very little room leftover, if any, for the bigger rocks.

Now, what would happen instead if you poured the big rocks in first?

And after that, the pebbles – shaking the jar so that they could settle into the open spaces created around the rocks.

And then lastly, the sand – which would sift its way through the rocks and pebbles, settling into the remaining free space?

In the first scenario – sand first – not everything would fit in the jar, and there would be no room for the bigger rocks. But in the second scenario, it turns out that there would be room for everything – it all would have a place.

Now, consider that this jar can represent our life, and the time and space we have available to fill. The rocks are the most important things in our lives, and the things that are most critical and valuable to us – such as family, health, relationships, and other key values.

The pebbles represent things that matter to us, and that we use our time on – like work or school – but that are less essential than the rocks. And finally, the sand is the remaining “small stuff” and material possessions that are of lowest importance.

The takeaway from this mental exercise is this: If we take care of the sand first – the small, less important stuff – we will never have enough room for all the rocks and the pebbles, too. We will always run out of time and energy for the things in our life that are most important.

But if we take care of the rocks first, and pay attention to the things that are critical to living a meaningful life, then we can really make the most of our time, energy, and efforts – and we can ensure that what needs to be tended to most, is.

What does your jar look like?

How have you been filling it?

What’s one thing you can do today to shift your priorities, tending to what is most important first, so that there is room for what is truly valuable and meaningful?

Comment below and let me know what came up for you in this exercise!

Until next time…

Keep Tapping!

Nick Ortner



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