Your Success Thought on "Priorities"
March 8, 2006

A Zen Master asked a group of college students to fill a large glass container with the materials that were on the ground surrounding them. Collectively, they filled the container to the brim with carefully selected large rocks.

He asked, “Is this container full?” They eagerly responded “YES!” feeling quite pleased with themselves for having quickly and effectively completed their assignment.

The Zen Master then took several handsfull of smaller stones and dropped them into the container. Gravity pulled these stones into nooks and crannies throughout the container. The students watched in silence, a little embarrassed that they didn’t see what was right in front of their eyes.

Zen Master asked: “Is the container now full?” Slowly, one by one, the students sighed “Yes.”

The Zen Master then found a small pile of sand nearby which he slowly released into the container. The sand gracefully filled in the remaining gaps between the large rocks and small stones. “Is the container now filled?” he asked the curious students. How could the answer be anything but "Yes?" And this time they were right.

What lesson did the Zen Master intend to impart with this experiment? It's all about how we fill ourselves up. This pertains to our time, spirit and thoughts. Do we begin big or small? Do we open up to or overlook the many possibilities that are right in front of our own eyes? What are the results?

For example, look at your typical 24 hour day. If you begin with the large rocks, you'll have plenty of room for pebbles, sand and the like. Once larger, vital issues are in place, it is easy to see where you can fill in your time with lesser yet still important tasks.

What if the Zen Master had asked the students to begin by filling the container with sand? These tiny objects would have occupied all available space, leaving no room for larger areas of focus.

If you jam your thoughts or spirit with the the little unimportant occurances of the day, where is there room for the really big dreams? Starting with your lofty goals allows room for the pebbles and sand of creativity, expansion and accomplishment.

Here's the problem many of us make. Before we tackle the really important items on our list, we want to eliminate those little irritants that have to be done. Pretty soon our day is over and we feel exhausted, not accomplished.

How does the Zen Master's lesson pertain to you? Is it how spend your time? What thoughts you allow to occupy your mind, or what you allow to enhance or drain your spirit? Please take time to figure out how you can fill yourself with larger rocks and not get so caught up in the smaller issues.

Enjoy your discoveries and have a great week!


Ann Golden Eglé, MCC
Executive Coach & President
Golden Visions Success Coaching, LLC

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