Friday, November 12, 2010

3D Juggling 503: Sawdust

Claire writes: "I spoke at a lunch for retired businessmen recently.  We were exploring what needs to happen to make sure that retirement contains some purposeful things as well as simply being busy.  I told them Stephen Covey's story about filling a jar:

A man was talking to a group of busy and powerful people and used a one-gallon, wide-necked jar to make a point. First he took about a dozen fist-sized rocks and placed them, one at a time, into the jar.

When the jar was full, he asked, "Is this jar full?" Everyone said, "Yes." Then he said, "Really?" He reached under the table, pulled out a bucket of gravel, poured it in and shook the jar so that the gravel worked itself into the spaces between the big rocks.

Then he smiled and asked the group once more, "Is the jar full?" "Probably not," one of them answered. "Good!" he replied. And he reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. Again he poured it it, shook it and asked: "Is this jar full?"

Finally he grabbed a jug of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked up at the class and asked, "What is the point of this illustration?"

One person raised his hand and said, "The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit some more things into it!"

"No," the speaker replied, "that’s not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all."

At one level, the learning is what are the big rocks which you need to put in first?

All this about what you put into your life.  But you're not always in control and it may be that someone else decides to put some sawdust in - and that absorbs your time. the end of my lunch, a man came up to me and said: If you use sawdust and not sand, other people can put in twice as much water as they did in the Covey story.

So the question is: Whose responsibility is it to make sure that we're not including things like sawdust in our schedule? ANd if we are, what do we need to take out?
Because saturated sawdust becomes very heavy to lift."

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