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A Worthy Way to Prioritize:

Our lives can be full of daily activities that can run us rampant. Whether you’re a student, taking care of a growing family, working long hours at a job, or all of the above or any combination of the lot, there is one thing that we can agree on: the hustle and bustle is REAL! Appointments to make, exams to study for, group projects, kids to take care of, get to the gym, pay for food, gas, bills, but make room for fun purchases, go out on the weekends, plan get-a-ways, graduate, eat right, sleep enough, find a new job, find time for yourself then repeat it all tomorrow or next week..(AHH!!)…

Sometimes, it can be overwhelming. All of these things that we have to do seemingly ALL the time just add up in our minds until we feel like we’re over-flowing our jar of life.

I’d like to share a metaphor (more like a story) that has helped me push through the last few semesters of my undergraduate amid many stressors that we may all deal with/have dealt with on a daily basis. It’s called “A Jar of Life”.

At the start of class one day, the professor put a large jar on top of her desk. The class curiously observed as she pulled out several large rocks and carefully placed them in the jar. When the jar was full of large rocks, she turned her attention to the class.

“Is this jar full?” she asked.

All of the students replied in unison, “Yes!”

“Really?” asked the professor.

She then pulled out some gravel and poured it into the jar, filling the space between the larger rocks.

“How about now? Is the jar full?” she asked again.

“Yes!” answered the class, thinking that they have figured out her little riddle.

Then the professor, in all her wit, pulled out a bag of sand and poured it into the jar, filling all the smallest cracks in between the large rocks and the gravel. The class peered back at her, having been stood corrected.

“What life lesson can we learn from this?” the professor asked.

A student raised his hand, “That no matter how full life seemingly gets, we can always fit in more” he said as he sat back in his chair, as to show he so cleverly figured out the professors ruse.

The professor emptied the jar completely and asked the student to come forward. She gave him the large rocks, the gravel, and the sand and asked him to completely fill the jar with all of them, but with one twist: he had to put the large rocks in last.

Of course, the student put the sand in, then the gravel, but no matter how hard he tried, the large rocks would not fit in to the jar.

The professor then explained:

“If you don’t put the large rocks in first, you never will. You’ll never get them all in. The big rocks represent all the important things in your life…your family and friends, your health, your personal growth… If you fill your life with small things, you will never find time for the things that truly matter.”


What are the large rocks in your life?

What is the gravel?

What is the sand?

Written by Jared Bradford

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