We all have 24 hrs at our disposal every day, yet, some people live a meaningful and fulfilling life, whereas others live a miserable one.
Why does someone achieve their goals and live life to the fullest, whereas someone else doesn't?
It all comes down to how they make use of their time.
“Your success will be in direct proportion to how you spend your ‘free’ time”. - Mike Dunlap
Some people are really good at prioritizing the important stuff, while others are really good at prioritizing what is irrelevant.
Since the most important currency in life is time - not money - you’d better learn how to invest it wisely.
You can find 10 tips to maximize your time and achieve more in my previous post - Your time is limited, don’t waste it!
In today’s post, I am going to make you ponder something that cannot be ignored if you want to live your life to the fullest.
If you have never paused to reflect on what you’ll find in the following lines, you are very likely to be throwing your life away.
I'm neither kidding nor exaggerating.
“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me”. - William Shakespeare, Richard II
Let me explain what I mean through the following eye-opening story.
YOUR LIFE IS LIKE A JAR - IT'S UP TO YOU HOW YOU WANT TO FILL IT
An old professor once stood up in front of his class with a large empty jar.
“Today, we are going to learn a lesson that can change the course of your life”, the old man said.
Then he filled the jar to the top with big stones and asked his students:
“Is the jar full”?
The students all agreed the jar was full.
The professor, then, added some small pebbles to the stones.
He shook the container so that the pebbles could disperse.
Then he asked again:
“Is the jar full now”?
Once more, the students all agreed the jar was full.
The professor then poured sand into the jar to the brim and filled up all the remaining empty space.
Then, he looked up at his students and asked:
“What have you learned”?
After a moment of deep silence and amazement, one student raised his hand and said:
“It doesn’t matter if your day is already full, if you try hard you can always fit some more things into it”!
“Nice try”, the professor replied.
“But that’s not the point of my illustration!
The truth this jar illustration teaches us is simple but profound.
If you don’t put the big stones inside the jar at first, you’ll never be able to place all of them inside the jar”.
The professor then went on:
“You see, the jar represents your life, while the stones, the pebbles, and the sand are the things that fill up your life.
The stones represent the important stuff in your life, things such as your family, your relationships, your health, your dreams, etc.
This means that, even if there was no room for the pebbles and the sand, the jar would still be full with the stones and your life would still have meaning.
The pebbles represent the stuff in your life that matters, but that you could live without.
They are things that may give you temporary satisfaction, things such as your career, your house, your car, your hobbies, etc.
But, they are not critical for you to have a meaningful and fulfilling life.
These things often come and go, and are not pivotal to your overall well-being and happiness.
Finally, there is the sand - which represents the remaining filler things in your life, the “small” and irrelevant stuff.
Things such as watching TV, scrolling Social Media, going on a shopping spree, getting drunk on the weekend, etc.
These things may give you instant gratification, but in the long run, they will break your life.
So, if you start putting the sand into the jar, you’ll not have room left for the stones and the pebbles.
The same happens with your life!
If you spend most of your time and energy on the small and insignificant things, you will run out of time and energy for the really important things.
So, pay attention to how you spend your day.
Make sure you place the stones first and not the other way around”.
How do you fill your jar?
In other words, do you prioritize the important and big stuff or the irrelevant and small ones?
Look at your life.
Are you satisfied with what you have achieved so far, with the life you are living?
If so, well done! If not, you’d better become aware of the pebbles and sand you have been pouring in your jar day in, day out.
What’s more, you’d better find out what the Big Stones you must add first to your jar are.
Whether they are quality time with your loved ones, your personal development, your health, your education, your business, your spirituality or a cause make sure to put these Big Stones in first or you’ll never get them in at all.
It’s so easy to get caught up with the sand and gravel - watching YouTube, Tv, playing video games, etc - but, if you don’t prioritize the Big Stones you will not live your life to the fullest.
So, what are the things that, even if everything else was lost and only these remained, your life would continue to be full?
Remember: everything else is sand and pebble.
“No one gets out of this life alive. So leave a footprint of your choice. You are writing your epitaph. You are writing it now! Life is a process, not a goal. Live it now, or you will miss it! We have time to spend and no time to waste”. - Charles Franklin
Make a commitment today that at the end of every day you go back over your day, at the end of the week you go back over your week, and at the end of the month you go back over your month and reflect on how you have spent your precious, but limited time.
“I cannot change the decisions that I have made in the past, but I can learn from them and make the most of the life that I am living now”. -Christa Cervone, Broken
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