Dr Stephen R Covey, a renowned philosopher, shared his views on the priorities of life through his book, First Things First. His following analogy is a poignant and deep vision of how we see our life, and how we could see our life.
A professor walked into his classroom one day with a large jar and sat it on the desktop. He turned to his class and asked them if the jar was full. The class simultaneously shook their heads; the jar was empty. The professor then took from behind the desk large rocks and began to drop them into the jar one by one.
When he could no longer fit any more rocks in the jar, he again turned to the class and asked if now the jar was full. This time, the class agreed that it was.
Next he took a small bag of pebbles from his satchel and tipped the entire bag into the jar. As he shook it around, the little pebbles rolled into the gaps between the rocks. He again asked the class if he had now filled up the jar. The answer was, of course, yes.
Last of all, he took a bag of sand and poured it all into the jar. The sand filled up every other little space, and filled the jar right up to the rim. The class didn't wait for the professor to ask before exclaiming that now the jar was completely full.
"Yes," The professor agreed. "The jar is entirely full. But if I had first filled the jar with sand, there would not have been space for the rocks and pebbles." His class nodded, but couldn't see his point.
"Pretend the jar is your life. The rocks are the most important things to you - love, family, health and so on. It is essential that you have these in your life, and so you must prioritize these in your jar.
The pebbles are the other less important things - your job, car, home, your sustaining sources. To live comfortably, you need to also put these in your jar.
Lastly, the sand is everything else which you can come across - the daily stresses, dramas, unimportant things which seem to take over sometimes. These must also go in the jar to help you learn. They are the mistakes you make, the tasks you achieve, the things you want. To have a successful life, you must also let these in your life, but you must not prioritize them over the important things."