China by Bicycle :: April -- October '98

Subject: [Fwd: (forw) Time management story]
Date: Fri, 12 Jun 1998 19:29:18 -0700

19:08 Zhongdu Hotel, Pingyao; Shanxi -- China :: FR 12 JUN 98

Still here. Rain this morning. No rush, no worries--plenty of days to reach Xian. Lie in. Rest. Correspond. Then, an afternoon's work on an ejournal entry lost when Netscape (the bloody bug farm that it is) crashes to a halt. Now it will have to be begun again after dinner.

Instead, I'll post this little gem forwarded to me by an Nomadic Spirit list subscriber, a good friend, a wise man. I know from other emails I've received recently, this item will benefit many. Ah, yes, and the first stanza from the Dao De Jing's 20th chapter which follows (the remaining stanzas apparently require the enlightenment of a Master to grasp--seeming darkness amidst so much light.)

Then, after some dinner, back at the gravel and the renewed Travelogue entry.


This jewel came through on the mailing list [my wife] has been on since she found out she was pregnant (comprised of women who were all due in Nov. '97).

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


----- Forwarded message-----

A while back I was reading about an expert on [the] subject of time management. One day this expert was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration I'm sure those students will never forget.

As this man stood in front of the group of high-powered overachievers he said, "Okay, time for a quiz." Then he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed Mason jar and set it on a table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar.

When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, "Is this jar full?"

Everyone in the class said, "Yes."

Then he said, "Really?" He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks.

Then he smiled and asked the group once more, "Is the jar full?" By this time the class was onto him. "Probably not," one of them answered.

"Good!" he replied. And he reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, "Is this jar full?"

"No!" the class shouted. Once again he said, "Good!" Then he grabbed a pitcher 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 eager beaver 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."

What are the 'big rocks' in your life? A project that YOU want to accomplish? Time with your loved ones? Your faith, your education, your finances? A cause? Teaching or mentoring others? Remember to put these BIG ROCKS in first or you'll never get them in at all.


So, tonight or in the morning when you are reflecting on this short story, ask yourself this question: What are the 'big rocks' in my life or business? Then, put those in your jar first.

----- End forwarded message -----


~~~ Responses Gleefully Received ~~~

Stop thinking, and end your problems.
What difference between yes and no?
What difference between success and failure?
Must you value what others value,
avoid what others avoid?
How ridiculous!

Other people are excited,
as though they were at a parade.
I alone don't care,
I alone am expressionless,
like an infant before it can smile.

Other people have what they need;
I alone possess nothing.
I alone drift about,
like someone without a home.
I am like an idiot, my mind is so empty.

Other people are bright;
I alone am dark.
Other people are sharper;
I alone am dull.
Other people have a purpose;
I alone don't know.
I drift like a wave on the ocean,
I blow as aimless as the wind.

I am different from ordinary people.
I drink from the Great Mother's breasts.

  graphical element Attributed to Lao Tse
The Tao Te Ching
Chapter 20.
trans. Stephen Mitchell