I first heard this story reading a time management book. The latest encounter with this analogy was while camping with Cielo and Ty in a little joke newspaper printed locally in Harrisville. The story goes something like this
Start with a bucket, some big rocks enough to fill it, some small stones, some sand and water.
Put the big rocks in the bucket – is it full?
Put the small stones in around the big rocks – is it full?
Put the sand in and give it a shake – is it full?
Put the water in. Now it’s full.
The point is: unless you put the big rocks in first, you won’t get them in at all.
The joke version uses beer instead of water and it is supposed to teach that there is always space for a little alcohol in your life, but this analogy is a lot more powerful than that and I think America as a whole could benefit from it. The way I interpret it is the following. The big rocks represent your family, your morals and anything else that should not be compromised in life. The small stones represent, money, career, and other material things that while necessary should never take precedence over what is really important. The sand is basically everything that is can be considered a problem, disagreements, and other activities that might not be as important but still require attention. Water represents everything else in life like the person that cuts you off during rush hour on your way to work, the person at the fast food restaurant forgetting to hold the onions on your burger, or the shoelace that breaks as you tie your shoes.
So many times we fall pray of the water, letting something so small in comparison to the rocks but that we let affect our mood or outlook on the day. Things that should never drive us do it so effectively at times. Use this analogy to evaluate your priorities and see if you are spending as much time thinking about the rocks instead of everything else combined.