The big stones.
One day, an old professor was hired to give training on effective planning of time to a group of fifteen leaders of major North American companies.
This course was one of the five workshops on their training day.
The old teacher had only one hour to “pass his material”.
Standing in front of this elite group (who was ready to write down all that the expert was going to teach), the old teacher looked at his pupils one by one slowly and then said to them: “We will make an experiment.”
From under the table that separated him from his pupils, the old teacher pulled out a huge glass jar of more than 4 liters, which he placed delicately in front of him. Then he pulled out about a dozen pebbles that were about as big as tennis balls and placed them delicately one by one in the big pot. When the pot was filled to the edge and it was impossible to add one more pebble, he slowly raised his eyes to his students and asked them, “Is this pot full?” All answered: “Yes”.
He waited a few seconds and added, “Really?” Then he bent down again and pulled out a container filled with gravel from under the table. Painstakingly, he poured this gravel over the large pebbles and then slightly stirred the pot. The pieces of gravel infiltrated between the pebbles … to the bottom of the pot.
The old professor looked up again to his audience and asked again, “Is this pot full?” This time, his brilliant pupils were beginning to understand his merry-go-round. One of them replied, “Probably not!” “Good!” Replied the old professor. He bent down again, and this time a soda boiler came out from under the table.
He carefully poured the sand into the pot. The sand filled the spaces between the pebbles and the gravel. Again, he asked, “Is this pot full?”. This time, without hesitation and in chorus, the brilliant pupils replied: “No!” “Good!” Continued the old professor.
And as his prestigious students expected, he took the pitcher of water that was on the table and filled the pot to the brim. The old professor then raised his eyes to his group and asked, “What great truth shows us this experience?”
Not surprisingly, the boldest student, thinking of this course, replied: “It shows that even when we believe our agenda is full, if we really want it, we can add more appointments, more things to do”.
“No,” replied the old professor. “It’s not that.”
“The great truth that this experience shows us is that if we do not put the big stones first in the pot, we can never get them all in, then.” There was a deep silence, each one becoming aware of the evidence of these words. The old teacher told them, “What are the big stones in your life?” Your health? Your family? Your friends? Realizing your dreams Doing what you love Learning Defending a cause Relaxing Take the Time …? Or … anything else?
“What we need to remember is the importance of putting the BIG STONES first in your life, otherwise we risk missing everything.
If priority is given to peccadills (gravel, sand), there will not be enough precious time to devote to the important elements. So, do not forget to ask yourself the question: What are the BIG STONES in my life? Then put them first in your pot “.
With a friendly gesture of the hand, the old professor saluted his audience and slowly left the room.