First things first

Have you heard this story before?

A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items on the table in front of him.

When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, about 2" in diameter.He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "Yes."

"Now," said the professor, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things - your family, your partner, your health, your children - things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter - like your job, your house, your car.

The sand is everything else. The small stuff."

"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued "there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life.If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.Take care of the rocks first - the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."


I've just started on a new job so I'll have to focus on that. Learning and reading to improve my knowledge will be important if I want to do well at my job.

But I don't plan on giving up on fitness and health. I plan to use my time efficiently by going to the gym in the morning before work or during lunch.

My work, fitness and health are my sand; writing will take the backseat.

Last year, I felt like following my dream.
This year, I feel like following the $$$!


Anonymous said...

For me I've always put a more or less optimum numbers of big rocks, pebbles and sand into the jar to the brim all at the same time from the beginning. I can shake the jar a little more, creating a little more space and fill the remaining spaces to the brim with my remaining nos. of rocks, pebbles and sand combination. So from the onset, I have all my priorities thought out and in the jar.

To me,family, partner and friends are important. Health is important too. And the enjoyment of life with doing fun things, partying, travelling, sports etc when I am younger and full or energy is important too. But to do all these, studies, work, money, investments are important too or else how to buy and enjoy most (if not all) of the things I want.

So from my early teens inspired by some excellent teachers and role models, I remember planning to have a balance in my so called jar from the start. My jar must have the right combination.

Now that I am getting on in my years, I am planning to retire before I reach 50, perhaps retire at age of 49. Why? Coz whats the point of working and retiring much later when your legs, organs and other body parts are surely not going to function as efficiently as before?

How am I going to enjoy the remaining years of my life when my body is already on the way downhill? So I plan to retire at 49 with all my systems still all bright green. I can have almost all the things I want and all the girls I want. And I can still keep up with those sweet young things. heh

Of course, to do all these one must have the capability and quite crucially so, some good luck and God's blessing. lol

silli cat

Anonymous said...

We learn that in secondary school.

I wonder whether they even teach it in Sillypore.

That is why silli people concentrate on the "sands"

Anonymous said...

Did you really learn that in Secondary School?

Likely you didnt, that's why you are a failure, full of regrets and have so much angst against your birthplace you called sillypore. Now that you are exiled in another country and couldnt return home coz you have AWOLed from national service, evaded taxes and IRAS has caught up with you, your numerous traffic summons yet unpaid and an arrest warrant too has been issued to your name and your unfortunate wife is waiting for alimony or maintenance payment from you. lol

You are so pathetic to ridicule your own country as sillipore and your fellow singaporeans as silliporeans. We know why.

silli cat

David said...


The analogy you provide while interesting could have been better said in your own words.

Writing and authoring no doubt are time demanding and often thankless.

Working for $$$ - a great motivation.

Whether one admits that a higher income is better than a lower income is irrelevant. Depending on life style desires and abilities we simply cannot seperate the need to earn a decent income.

The moral and ethical means by which one earns and disposes of income tells a great deal about a persons character.

I would think that a prime motive for Yu-Kym returning to active employement is that she recieved a job offer with wages to good to decline.

Perhaps Yu-Kym might tell us the percantange change from her last full time employer.

Best wishes for Yu-Kym's success and rapid rise up the coporate ladder! ! !


There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship

Thomas Aquinas

Anonymous said...

Good luck with the new job. I hope the $$$ are abundant :D

sch said...

Yu Kym, I think what you mean is that "Your work, fitness and health are your big rocks..." and "writing is your sand". "First thing first" is part of the seven habits by Stephen Covey. Check out this video

Anonymous said...

It is completely sensible to know first things first but does one really understand what things first?

There are so many rocks, pebbles and much sand. So which rocks firsts, which pebbles etc.

Many a time it is also important to stick to the objectives of the rocks, pebbles and sand. Continuity and perseverance in pursuit of a goal is crucial to achieving them.

So Yu-Kym, last year was the dream, this year is the money. Next year leh? I suggest you avoid changing your priorities less you end up with half-baked successes. Keep to the money as your first rock of all rocks for the next ten years at least. Your dream of writing can still be realised anytime. It's not like your family, youth and health, it's now at its best or never ever later.

silli cat