Energy and effort into what matters

By Jeff Kluever, Director of Programs

There’s a popular demonstration called “Jar of Life” in which a jar is filled with big rocks (important things like family, health, work), little rocks (less important things like sports or hobbies), and sand (unimportant things like watching television or social media). When you fill the jar with the big rocks first, then the little rocks, and finally the sand, everything fits in the jar. If you reverse the process and start with sand, then little rocks, then big rocks, not everything fits in the jar.

The point of the demonstration is that when we fill our time with the most important things first, the little rocks and sand can be worked in, but when our time is consumed by unimportant things, we run out of space for what really matters.

When I perform the demonstration, however, I exchange the big rocks for balloons and pose the question – instead of trying to cram more unimportant things into our jar, what if we decided to put more air into our balloons? In other words, what if we put more time, energy, and effort into the big things that really matter, instead of jamming more unimportant sand into our life? What will be more fulfilling – putting more into the important aspects of your life or spending more time on social media?

There’s nothing wrong with having some little rocks and sand in your jar. We need variety in our lives. We need opportunities to rest and rejuvenate so that when the time comes we can be fully engaged with our balloons. But, when you feel like you’re falling short, when there’s just not enough time in the day, don’t cram in more sand. Put air in your balloons.

60-Second Character Challenge
  • What are the critically important “big rocks” or “balloons” in your life?
  • What could you do to invest more time and energy into your “balloons?”
  • What unimportant sand could you remove from your life in order to invest more energy into your “balloons?