Rocks, Pebbles, Sand, Water

You may have heard that one story in which a teacher holds up a glass jar, fills it up with rocks, and asks her class if the glass is full. The students all agree, “Yes, it is,” until the teacher adds pebbles, which fall into the gaps between the rocks.

The teacher asks again, “Is the glass full?”

“Yes,” the students say. “Now the glass is full.”

So the teacher takes some sand and adds it to the glass. “How about now?”

Again, the answer is yes.

In a final plot twist, the teacher adds water to the glass. As she does, she likens the container to the amount of time we have each day and the rocks, pebbles, sand, and water to the activities we fill our days with. We are reminded that we need to stay aware of what’s most important to us and make a conscious decision to dedicate the majority of our resources (time, energy, money) to those things (as opposed to spending those same resources on the things we care much less about instead).

I’ve come across this story a few times in my life, and today it finally clicked for me. I drew a mind map of my rocks and pebbles so I would have a better idea of what to focus on:

I checked the results against the tracker I made at the beginning of August and realized just how many resources I’ve been pouring into things that, quite frankly, don’t matter much to me. So, I reinvented my tracker using the results of my mind map as a guide:

The first block on the audit side is to do with community, the second with self care, and the third with security. (“Wash Hair” and “Face Mask” don’t have to do with anything, really. I’m just curious to know how often I do these things.)

On the right side of the page, I have a list of feelings.

It will be interesting to see if there is any correlation between how many of the rock items I make time for and how I feel each day. I’m hoping to find I feel consistently better when I’ve made room for at least some of the items on the left side of the page, but there are variables I haven’t included–like work, for example, which is only tangentially related to my security rock–that I don’t have quite so much control over and that will likely have a pretty large impact on my mood throughout the day.


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