The Sylgar Group

Create a Personal Balance Sheet

These are challenging economic times indeed. The unemployment rate has hit a 25 year high. The United States is facing unprecedented budget deficits. Inflation may be rearing its head. Real estate values continue to be under attack.

These are times when people should take stock of their lives. It is time to create a personal balance sheet if you will. Sit down with a piece of paper. Draw a line down the middle of the paper. On the left hand side, list all your assets. Be sure to include family, friends, talents, career, faith, and hobbies. On the right hand side list your liabilities. I think you will be surprised as to just how many assets you possess in this world. We will get through these difficult times. It is important to not lose sight that these times are our lives. It is not time for despair, but time to assure you are steering your personal ship on your personal course. Someone emailed the short story below to me many years ago. I have since seen the story show up in books and websites. I cannot think of a better time to share this story with you.

Big Rocks
by Unknown Author

An expert in time management was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration those students will never forget. As he stood in front of the group of high-powered overachievers he said, "Okay, time for a quiz" and he pulled out a one-gallon, mason jar and set it on the table in front of him. He also produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar.

When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, "Is this jar full?"

Everyone in the class yelled, "Yes."

The time management expert replied, "Really?"

He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. He dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks. He then asked the group once more, "Is the jar full?"

By this time the class was on to him. "Probably not," one of them answered.

"Good!" he replied. He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in the jar and it went into all of the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, "Is this jar full?"

"No!" the class shouted. Once again he said, "Good." Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked at the class and asked, "What is the point of this illustration?"

One eager beaver raised his hand and said, "The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard you can always fit some more things in it!"

"No," the speaker replied, "that's not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don't put the big rocks in first, you'll never get them in at all."

"What are the 'big rocks' in your life -- time with your loved ones, your faith, your education, your dreams, a worthy cause, teaching or mentoring others? Remember to put these BIG ROCKS in first or you'll never get them in at all." So, tonight, or in the morning, when you are reflecting on this short story, ask yourself this question: What are the 'big rocks' in my life? Then, put those in your jar first.




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