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Rocks, Pebbles, or Sand?

A philosophy professor once stood up before his class with a large empty jar. He filled the jar to the top with large rocks and asked his students if the jar was full. The students said that yes, the jar was indeed full. He then added small pebbles to the jar, and gave the jar a bit of a shake so the pebbles could disperse themselves among the larger rocks. Then he asked again, “Is the jar full now?”

The students agreed that the jar was still full.

The professor then poured sand into the jar to fill up any remaining empty space. The students then agreed that the jar was completely full.


Were launched on this topic a few weeks ago to bring awareness to what our Learners make time for throughout their day and the entire session. The rocks are equivalent to the most important things you have going on, such as spending time with your family, good friends, and health. This means that if the pebbles and the sand were lost, the jar would still be full and your life would still have meaning.


The pebbles represent the things in your life that matter, but that you could live without. The pebbles are certainly things that give your life meaning (such as your job, house, relationships with acquaintances, and hobbies), but they are not critical for you to have a meaningful life. These things often come and go, and are not permanent or essential to your overall well-being.


Finally, the sand represents the remaining filler things in your life, and material possessions. This could be small things such as phones, movies, shows, social media, or running errands. These things don't mean much to your life as a whole, and are likely only done to waste time or get small tasks accomplished.


So what's the big lesson with the rock, pebbles, and sand in a jar story? The metaphor here is that if you start by putting sand into the jar, you will not have room for rocks or pebbles. This holds true with the things you let into your life. If you spend all of your time on small and insignificant things, you will run out of room for the things that are actually important.

When thinking of your family, what will you fill your day with? Rocks? Pebbles? Or Sand?

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