You’re probably familiar with the story of the big rocks, the pebbles and the sand in the vase. A teacher stands up in front of the class and fills a glass vase with big rocks. ‘Is it full?’ he asks. ‘Yes’, the class answers. Then he pours in small pebbles, which fill up the cracks between the big rocks. ‘Is it full now?’. ‘Yes’, they answer. Finally, he pours in a bag of sand, the grains making their way into the tiny gaps that remain.
The principle in the story is that if you start with the sand, it will fill the vase completely, leaving no room for the big rocks. Starting with the big rocks and then moving onto smaller things is the only way to get all the elements in. This, of course, is an analogy for starting with the ‘big rocks’ in the way we plan and live out our lives – the things that really matter to us – and then allowing the smaller things that matter less to fit around them.
It’s a classic story that gets used again and again, because the principle is true. Being deliberate about the most important goals and values in our lives is the only way to ensure we give them the time and energy they deserve.
Ultimately, it’s a story about getting what you want. What you really want.