The Jar of Life

A professor sets a glass jar in front of his students and begins filling it with rocks. When they reach the top, he asks, “is the jar full?” 

The students answer, yes. 

Then he pours a bowl of pebbles into the jar. They fill the spaces between the rocks and he asks again, “is it full now?” They agree that it is. 

The professor then pours sand into the jar, packing every crevice between the rocks and pebbles. He explains, “the big rocks represent the most important things in life; your health, family and friends. The pebbles are significant, but less meaningful, like work and school. The sand represents all the small stuff.” 

The Jar of Life was first popularized in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and is a metaphor for prioritizing your life. By placing the big rocks before the pebbles and sand, you allocate your time and energy to the things that matter most. Otherwise, when you treat everything as a priority, nothing is.

Here’s my take. Your Jar of Life can feel full, but is it packed with rocks or sand? Have you crammed so much into your jar that you feel overwhelmed – but unulfilled? It may be time to press reset and refocus your priorities. And sometimes it’s best to empty the damn jar and start over.

Also, you never know when trivial pebbles will blossom into something special. So, leave time to explore and think outside of the jar.

No matter how full your jar is, there’s still room for one thing…alcohol. When life gets too stressful, you may just need an attitude adjustment. So, pour some booze over the rocks and let it sink in.

Beau Phillips is President of Rainmaker Media. 
He’s a creative marketing consultant, strategist and speaker.
Reach him at 203-256-9347 

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