Put the “Big Rocks” in first!

by Rob on June 27, 2011

I want to use my inaugural post to re-tell the now famous ‘big rocks’ story.  This story is mostly told in context of improving “personal effectiveness,” but I will show how the moral of this story supports my intention for this blog.  Indeed, focusing on ‘big rocks’ is foundational to success in financial planning, investing and living one’s life to the fullest.

Even if you have heard this story before, its message is timeless:

A guru was speaking to his students and concluded his discussion one day with a quiz.  He pulled out a one gallon, wide-mouthed jar, placed it on the table in front of him, and proceeded to fill it – one at a time – with large-sized rocks.  When no more “big rocks” could be placed into the jar, he asked his students, “Is the jar full”?  They enthusiastically replied, “Yes!”

Without saying a word, the guru then pulled out a bucket of gravel, and started dumping the gravel into the jar.  With some strategic shaking of the jar, the guru was able to work the gravel down, filling all of the spaces between the “big rocks”.  The guru smiled, and again asked his students, “Is the jar full now?”  Enlightened, one of the students replied, “Probably not!”

“Good,” replied the guru – and he reached under the table a second time to retrieve a bucket of sand.  As he poured the sand into the jar, it worked its way into the remaining spaces between the gravel and “big rocks”.  Once more he asked his students, “Is the jar full now?”  Now, they were on to him, as they shouted, “No!”

“Good!” he replied – and he reached for a pitcher of water and filled the jar to its brim.

Turning back to his students, the guru asked, “And what is the point of this exercise?”  One student raised his hand and said enthusiastically, “No matter how much you do, there’s always time to cram something else in!”

With only slight frown, the guru, explained, “No that’s not it at all.  The moral of this story is that if you don’t put the ‘big rocks’ in first, there’s no hope of ever getting them in.”

So it is with trick of being able to live fully and abundantly.  If you don’t focus on your life’s ‘big rocks’ – putting them first – you’ll never have a chance to achieve them.  It’s my intention to share in future posts, techniques and structures for helping you do this – enabling you to effectively move forward.

Being focused on the ‘big rocks’ in the financial planning and investing domains has a similar positive impact.  Every day we are bombarded with a myriad of financial facts, techniques, strategies, and vehicles.  Much of this is ‘noise’ or sand – and it can all be very confusing.  My thesis is that by focusing on a few ‘big rocks,’ you can easily create a financial and investment plan that is right for you – resulting in an extremely successful experience over time.  I’m very excited to being able to share these ‘big rocks’ (along with a few pebbles and a bit of sand where appropriate) with you over time!

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