ROCKS: Meaning for Life
A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a large empty jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks all about 5 cm in diameter. He asked everybody if the jar was full. They said it was.
So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. Again, they agreed it was.
The professor then picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. "Now," said the professor, "I want you to recognize that this is your life. The rocks are the important things - your family, your partner, your health, your children - things that, if all else was lost and only they remained, would still fill your life."
"The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car. The sand is everything else - the small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy 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 partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the leaky tap. Take care of the rocks first - the things that really matter.
Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."