The professor walked into his noisy philosophy class on the first day of the college term. Silently, he began to unpack a large bag he carried and place items in front of him on the desk.

This intrigued the students and soon a hush descended on the auditorium.

The professor now had the full attention of the new students. Without a word, he picked up a very large and empty pickle jar and proceeded to fill it to the brim with fist-sized rocks.

"Is the jar full?" he asked the students.

There was a mummer of agreement from the students that the jar was indeed full.

"Really?" said the professor. He then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He gently shook the jar so that the pebbles rolled into the open spaces between the rocks.

"Is the jar full now?" he asked the students.

They agreed it was now full.

"Really?" said the professor. He picked up a tray of sand and poured it into the jar. The sand quickly filled up the spaces between the pebbles and rocks.

"Is the jar full now?" he asked the students.

They agreed with a unanimous "Yes!"

"Hmmm," said the professor. He then produced a couple of bottles of beer from and poured them both into the jar effectively filling the empty spaces between the sand.

The students roared with laughter.

The professor grinned and waited for the class to settle.  "It's important to recognise what each of these objects represents. For example, the glass jar is your life. And the fist-sized rocks are the important things that you hold dear. What might those rocks be?" he asked the class.

"Family?" ventured one student.

"Indeed," the professor replied. "Your family, your health, your friends and your favourite passions are certainly good examples. They are those things that, if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. And they may be different for each of you."

"What about the pebbles and sand?" another student asked.

"The pebbles are the other things that matter. These might be things like your job, your house, where you live and the sort of car you drive. The sand? Well, that's everything else and is typically the small stuff," responded the professor.

"And here's the thing. Put the sand into the jar first and there's no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life," he continued.

"The danger is that you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff and as a result, you'll never have room for the things that are important in life. The best piece of advice I can give you is to pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. That means spending time with your family and friends. Go visit your grandparents. Take your partner out to supper. Look after your health - play another 18 holes of golf or go fishing with your pals - there'll always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn. Whatever you do take care of the rocks first for these are the things that really matter in life and should be your priorities. The rest is just sand," the professor explained.

One of the students raised her hand. "What about the bottles of beer? What do they represent?"

The professor looked at the class and gave a wry smile. "I'm glad you asked," he said. "The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of beers with your friends!"

And with that, he dismissed the class giving them the assignment to go and take care of their rocks!

Can you do this? I'm sure you can.

To your success...

Your opportunity to chat…
I’m passionate about inspiring people to tap into their unique talents and strengths – to be the best they can be – to fulfill the potential they always knew they had. It’s not about ‘fixing’ you. Rather, it’s about helping you access the best part of yourself so you’re able to make the changes, release the dragons and powerfully step into your brilliance.

If you are interested in performance coaching, try my free 20-minute introductory session. Just contact me and I’ll arrange a time and date for us to chat by phone or face-to-face.

Get in touch TODAY by email or call my office on +44 (0)20 8798 3433.

Mark Russell Inspired Performance Coaching – Dedicated to Your Success.