The Big Rocks
A professor set a large jar in front of her class of savvy business students and filled it with fist-sized rocks until it was full.
“Is the jar full?” she asked the class.
Most of the class nodded in approval. Then, she took out a bag of gravel, and dropped a handful of it into the jar until it slid into all the spaces between the big rocks. “Now is it full?” The class was starting to catch on. Several students said the jar wasn’t full yet.
“Well, let’s find out,” she said. The professor brought out a bucket of sand and poured it into the jar. With a few shakes, the sand filled the tiny crevices around the rocks and gravel.
“Is it full now?” she asked yet again. The class thought: What could possibly be smaller than sand? Sure enough, the professor took out a jug of water from behind her desk and poured it into the jar where it diffused through the rocks, gravel, and sand, filling the jar to the brim.
“Your life is like this jar,” she explained. “If you don’t put in your big rocks first, they’ll never fit around the little stuff.”
We did not write this story; it’s been around for years. We’ve heard it a hundred times or more from financial thought leader Larry Swedroe, and Matt Hall felt it was so powerful, he included it in his book Odds On.
If anything, the message becomes more relevant as each day passes. In 2019, it’s easier than ever to fill our proverbial jars with sand and water: shopping, entertainment, text messages, and so on. Meanwhile, there’s less and less room for our big rocks: family, community, education, financial freedom – the not-so-sexy yet foundational qualities of a life well-lived.
Our job at Hill Investment Group isn’t just to maximize the value of your investment portfolio. That’s part of it, but our greater job is to help you put your big rocks in place. All of them.
How’s your jar looking?