30 days of Stress Tips (day 10 - the glass jar)
Posted on 29th May 2020 at 10:25
The Glass Jar
This is a very well known story about a professor and his class. One day the professor walks into his class where all the students are sitting down and waiting. On the table is a wide mouthed glass jar and a large cardboard box. The professor doesn't say anything but goes up to the table, reaches into the box and takes out some large rocks. He puts these rocks into the jar until he can't get any more in. He then asks the class "Is the jar full?" The students say "yes, of course". He says nothing and goes back to the box and takes out some small pebbles. He then dribbles them into the jar where they trickle between the rocks, filling up the gaps. When he can't get any more pebbles in, he asks "Is the jar full now?" The students say "yes". He once again goes to the box and takes out some sand. He pours it into the jar and it fills up the even smaller gaps. "Is the jar full now?' he asks. The students, beginning to catch on don't say anything. The professor walks over to the jar and takes out - a jug of water and pours the water into the jar, until the water is up to the lip of the jar. "Is the jar full now?" Once again the students don't say anything, so he reaches into the box and takes out a handful of salt and pours it onto the surface of the water in the jar where it dissolves. When he can't dissolve anymore salt in the jar he asks "Is the jar full now?" One of the students says "No!" The professor with a smile says " Yes, now the jar is full!"
This is a great story which has many meanings that you can take from it. The first of three that immediatlely spring to my mind is that this could be story about how we shouldn't make assumptions when we don't know the full story. So many times we assume something is going to happen or that someone meant something when we don't know the full story. But, based on our knowledge, our previous experiences and sometimes our predjudices, we jump to a conclusion which could well be false. The second meaning is that you can always go one step further. It is very easy in life to do something and think "that will do" , when we can often go a little further. It is said that the reason most famous inventors managed to come up with such innovative ideas was because they simply thought longer and harder about stuff and didn't stop when they got the first idea. The only caveat I would put with this is that we have to decide what is worth putting all our effort into and what is not and realise that sometimes good enough is, good enough.
The third and I think most relevant meaning to this story is that if you assume that these different objects represent the different things in your life and that the rocks are the most important things in your life (that could be family, health, home etc) and that the least important things are represented by the salt (that could be social media, texts, other people opinions, TV etc), this gives us a good guide to what time and energy we shoud allocate to all of these things. We only have a certain amount of time and resources and if we use too much of it up on the non essential things, then we won't have time or resources left for the most important things.
Get the big rocks in first!
It may well be that you have other meaning that you have found within this story and if so, I would love to hear what they are, so please do comment.
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