Week 4 – What’s Your BIG Rock?


Action expresses priorities.”  ― Mahatma Gandhi

The Parable of the Professor and the Rocks.  – Author Unknown

The professor was standing behind his desk in the lecture hall as I came in. That was odd because he usually dashed in just as class was supposed to start.

He didn’t say anything as he looked out at us—also odd—and everyone took a seat quickly. He reached under the desk and took out a clear glass jar, the gigantic kind that cafeterias get mayonnaise or pickles in. He set the jar on the desk and then reached under again and took out a box.

From the box, he took out a baseball-sized rock and carefully set it at the bottom of the jar. Then he added more until he placed one last rock in the top.


“Is this full?” he said, the first words he had spoken.

No one said anything. They seemed a little stunned.

“Everyone must vote—is it full or not? Raise your hand if you say it’s full.”

Everyone raised their hands.

He pushed the first box aside and reached underneath for another box. This one held sand. He slowly poured sand into the jar, tipping it from side to side until sand spilled onto the desk.

“Now is it full?” he said.

He waited for a bit. When the silence had become painful he reached under the desk again and pulled out a pitcher of water. Very slowly he poured in water and tapped the jar until water spilled out.

“Okay, now it’s full,” he said as he pushed the jar forward. “Now tell me: what is the lesson here?”


I finally raised my hand. “That you can always get more stuff inside?”

“A good guess, but that’s not it.”

No one else wanted to interpret this odd Zen story.

Finally he said, “The lesson is,” and then he spoke deliberately, “you would never have gotten the rocks in unless you put them in first.

Successful people, ensure they have time for what matters most to them. They know what their priorities are and they do those things first.

This week’s success tip is: Put the BIG rocks in FIRST! If something is important to you, and you are not getting to it, then you have not put it in your day first—this includes time for exercise, sleep, healthy eating, family and friends, rest, rejuvenation and just plain old fun. Think about what is really important in your life. This week, make it a big rock–put it in first!


  1. Think about your priorities and what is important in your life
  2. Pick one thing that is important to you and schedule it in your calendar.
  3. No matter what happens this week, keep the big rock in the jar—do not bump the activity for anything.
  4. Schedule everything else around that time.
  5. At the end of the week, use the weekly review process outlined in the About tab to review your progress.

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