If you know me well, you would have realised that I was walking around a tad bit more hyper than I normally am with a reference book attached to some part of my body. And if you put two and two together, you get this – TRIALS.
Yes, I have just finished trials and now can quickly grab the opportunity to update this blog. It’s not dead! And thank you for all those who pop in and remind me time and time to ‘UPDATE WOMAN, UPDATE’.
However, it’s rather difficult to update as for some reason, I was out of ideas. And if you know me, I don’t write for the sake of writing. When I have nothing to say, I rather not say anything at all.
This is where exams come in handy. I get epiphanies during English exams. ALWAYS. So while I was writing a less-elaborate-compared-to-my-mid-year-paper essay about The Pearl, I realised that the year is rushing by a lot faster than I thought. I’ve been moving just so fast that I didn’t realise time was moving just as fast as I was – if not more. It’s already approaching the end of August and my compulsory school life has almost reached a full circle.
This I grasped as I sat in my seat listening to who was going to be the next Head Prefect.
This I grasped as I listen to my debate teacher talk about training the next team. This I grasped when I stepped down from CF.
This I grasped when I filled in the form for National Service.
Life as I know it is changing quickly. In fact, the only thing constant about it is that it is ever changing. But I realised that there are 3 things that we bring with us through all our seasons and passages of time.
But the one which hit me during exams was this – Priorities. Partly that was also because I remembered this story I read in a book. (I love stories. Any story worth telling once is worth telling twice).
One day, an expert on time management was speaking to a group of business students. To drive home a point, this expert used an illustration I’m sure those students will never forget. As this man stood in front of the group of high-powered overachievers, he said, “Okay, time for a quiz.” Then he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed Mason jar and set it on a table in front of him. Then he 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 said, “Yes.” Then he said, “Really?” He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks. Then he smiled and asked the group once more, “Is the jar full?” By this time the class was onto him. “Probably not,” one of them answered. “Good!” he replied. And he reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in and it went into all 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 full to the brim. Then he looked up 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 into it!” “No,” the speaker replied, “that’s not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is that if we don’t put the big rocks in first, we’ll never get them in at all!”
How apt this analogy is. What are some of our ‘big rocks’? What are the things we know are important but keep putting it off? And in time find it so hard to fit it into our schedules?
I’ve many ‘big rocks’ in my life. Time to spend with God, time to spend with my family, time for my studies…. But sometimes, things go out of hand and before I know it, I find myself busy but achieving nothing. And because of that, we end up experiencing burn outs, when we’re so tired of doing because it seems like nothing is being done!
You see, a lion tamer was once asked which “tool” he would keep if he only can have one – his whip or his stool? He picked the stool. Now, if you’re like me, you would be confused. I mean, logically the only thing which can defend me would probably be the whip. Sacrifice my last line of defence? Are you kidding me?! So yes, this was puzzling until he explained why. The stool actually paralyzes the lion. When it is waved in front of him, the beast is unable to focus. The four separate legs create four separate focal points. The lion doesn’t know which leg to focus on and because he can’t decide, he can’t attack. He’s immobilized.
I guess when it boils down to it; we have to focus our priorities and what truly matters. I know what I need to put in first, do you? And more importantly, are you putting it as your main priority?
After all, it’s not about prioritizing out schedule – but rather, scheduling our priorities.