A philosophy professor and his student stand in a warehouse. A large tin bucket and several boxes are in front of them.
The professor picks up a box that contains large rocks, each one about four inches in diameter, and pours them into the bucket. The stones reach the top of the bucket, and he asks the student if it is full.
“It is,” the student replies.
The professor takes another box, this one containing stones about one inch in diameter, and pours them over the rocks in the bucket. The smaller stones fill in the spaces between the rocks. Again, he asks the student if the bucket is full.
The student looks and says, “It is.”
The professor then pours in the contents of a third box, this one containing small pebbles. Again, the student looks in and agrees that the bucket is full.
Finally, the professor pours a box of sand on top of the rocks, stones, and pebbles. And once more, for the fourth time, the student has to acknowledge that the bucket is full.
“The lesson,” the professor tells the student, “is to do the most important thing first, and each lesser thing in order of its priority. In this way, you will be able to fill up your life four times, instead of just once. If you do the unimportant things first, you’ll be filling your bucket with sand… and there won’t be room for anything else.”[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]