Sunday, September 6, 2009

Big Rocks and Chocolate - setting priorities

Putting the Big Rocks in First

A professor stood before her Philosophy 101 class and had some items in front of her. When the class began, wordlessly, she picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with egg-sized rocks. She then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

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

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

The professor then produced two cans of liquid chocolate from under the table and proceeded to pour the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things - - your family, your spouse, your health, your children, your friends, and your favorite passions - - 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," she 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. "Take care of the big rocks first - the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One student raised her hand and inquired what the chocolate represented.

The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for chocolate!"

What is "lazy"?

I read this article,, "L is for lazy", and had these thoughts about it:

This is a challenging question, fraught with judgment and potential hurt.

The average manager/foreman could be considered "lazy" because s/he tells others what to do, while doing very little physical work him/her self. (I've often heard lower level workers complain about the "lazy" boss who does nothing all day while they do all the work - but that boss must've done something right to earn that position, and someone has to have the skills to organize the work that needs to be done.

A mother could be considered lazy because she has her child(ren) do housework/chores for her. Or she could be considered a great mom for teaching her kids how to care for themselves and their future homes. How about this same mom using the technique of "batch cooking" so that she gets multiple meals from the effort of preparing the food once? Is that "lazy", or just really well organized?

How about folks whose work is mostly in their heads? Are they being "lazy" sitting at their computers for hours on end?

One definition I read on Yahoo Answers was, "...someone who doesn't make an effort to want to do anything especially if it's something that needs to get taken care of." Which begs us to define "...needs" As in, "Do I need to go for a hike/walk this afternoon, or do I need to stay home and prep my driveway for sealing?" Either of these activities would require physical effort, but the driveway work would produce something functional and long lasting. Is the hiker/walker lazy?

How about me, sitting here researching on my computer about laziness? Am I being lazy, since the only physical exertion I've put out is my typing fingers? (My answer: Yes/maybe, because I'm doing this while I avoid going out to prep the driveway for sealing! LOL)

And yet, my day-job PAYS me to do internet research on a regular basis. When I'm being paid to do it, no one would consider me lazy.

Is it all Moral Relativism????

Which is lazier:
- person A, who sits in front of the TV for hours on end, or
- person B, who sits in front of the TV, but knits hats and sweaters for the babies of friends, producing something functional and beautiful.

Neither person A or B is engaging in much physical effort, and the baby things won't fit those babies for long.

Did person B take up knitting to justify sitting on his/her behind for hours on end, or did person B find that s/he loved knitting, and therefore ends up spending a great deal of time seated? A classic chicken or the egg dilemma.

Here's another Yahoo Answer:
"Laziness is the person not wanting to do something either because they feel it is too much work, or it is too much work and not enough benefit."

And yet, this sounds like a person using their common sense, to me. Do I want to start seeds in late winter for my vegetable garden, or just buy the pre-started plants at a nursery and plop them in the ground. Do I want to just buy my veggies at the Farmers Market/grocery store? Am I "lazy" if I choose to not grow my own food? Why? Why not?

Seems to me that "Lazy" has everything to do with setting priorities, and making sure you use your time to create what you want in your life. Sometimes I change my mind about what I want because the effort involved in achieving my goals is more than my level of desire will justify.

Most people are perfectly happy to go to a store and plunk down $20 for a sweater set for baby, but I prefer to make it myself. It may even cost just as much - or even more (good yarn ain't cheap!) - but it's more important to me to make it myself than to get it at a store. I fulfill my desire for creativity, for knitting love into every stitch, for expressing my love by creating a work of wearable art. Others just want something warm and are willing to pay hard cash to get it.


Some days my list of stuff that needs to be done is so long it's overwhelming, so I just pick one that feels do-able, and do it. I get something done, even if it's only one little thing. Not being lazy, just overwhelmed, and re-setting priorities.

Putting my "Big Rocks" in first, as it were.