Monday, January 24, 2011

A Wise Story from Dr. Covey

The following is a simple and wise story from my favorite self-help guru, Dr. Stephen Covey. It is from his book, "First Things First". It is a rather simple metaphor, yet profound, like so much of Dr. Covey's work.

"A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he picked up a large empty jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, rocks about two inches in diameter.

He then ask the class if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up some smaller pebbles and poured them in the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas around the rocks. The students laughed.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled everything else. 'Now', the professor said, 'I want you to recognize that this is your life. The rocks are the important things - your family, your health, your partner, anything that is so important to you that if it was lost you would be nearly destroyed. The pebbles are the other things that matter - your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else. The small stuff.'

'If you put the sand in the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles and the rocks. The same goes with life. If you spend all your energy and time on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical check ups. Take your wife out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party, and fix the disposal.'

'Take care of the rocks first - the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.'"

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