this man stood in front of the group of high-powered overachievers,
he said, "Okay, time for a quiz." Then he pulled out
a one-gallon, wide-mouthed mason jar and set it on a table in
front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks
and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar. When the
jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside,
he asked, "Is this jar full?" Everyone in the class
said, "Yes." Then he said, "Really?" He reached
under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped
some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work
themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks.
smiled and asked the group once more, "Is the jar full?"
By this time the class was onto him. "Probably not,"
one of them answered."Good!" he replied. And he reached
under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started
dumping the sand in and it went into all the spaces left between
the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, "Is
this jar full?"
the class shouted. Once again he said, "Good!" Then
he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until
the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked up at the class
and asked, "What is the point of this illustration?"
beaver raised his hand and said, "The point is, no matter
how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always
fit some more things into it!" "No," the speaker
replied, "that's not the point. The truth this illustration
teaches us is:
If you don't put the big rocks in first, you'll never get them
in at all."
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