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IDENTIFY YOUR TRUE PRIORITIES

I’ve been running behind time for some time now. There’s always a lot to do and just not enough time to do all of it. What does one do then? We compromise. Do the “important” things first, and let the things that can wait, wait. More often than not, the things we keep postponing include the movie with family, the coffee with friends, the yoga class the doctor has recommended a 100 times or your favorite guitar, which now longs for your touch.

Somewhere down the road, when we’re lonely, unwell and burnt-out and wonder what happened.. the answer will probably lie in our choices. What did we choose to see as important? Was that truly important or just urgent?

While musing on this line of thought, I remembered this story I came across some time ago (View page here). It’s a simple nudge to get our priorities right and helps me get some perspective when I find myself struggling to stay afloat in an over-filled life. Hope it touches you too.

What are you filling your life’s jar with?

A professor stood before his Philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes.”

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things – your God, family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions – things that if
everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

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,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

The same goes for 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 checkups.
Take your partner out to dinner.
There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.
Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter.
Set your priorities.
The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked.

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a cup of coffee with a friend.”

Post contributed by: Mahima Gupta (Psychologist, Inner Space, 2010-2012)

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