Gregor Cuzak

on marketing, business and philosophy

Stones into a glass vase


I’ve heard a wonderful metaphor two days ago. It talks about why it is important to do both the large strategic and the small tactical pieces of work, and not to forget the operational and hygenic activities either.

You have a vase, like a large glass jar. You also have stones, all kinds of stones.

Now your teacher says, that you should fill the vase with stones.

Fine. You take the stones and you put them into the glassy vessel, one by one. You fill the glass to the top.

I’m done, you say. But the teacher says, no, you’re not, have you considered the small pebbles, the tiny stones?

Ok. You pick the smaller stones, and you see that filling up the spaces between the big stones does make it possible to fill the vase better. You fill out every nook and cranny. You claim you’re done.

You’re not done yet, says the voice above you. What about the sand? What about the sand, what do you mean? Well, could you not take the sand to fill even the tiniest holes in the vase, says the master? Indeed, you could.

And you do. You realise that quite lot of sand still fits into the vase. The vase now seems as full as possible. Done.

Really? Are you sure?

Well, yes, you say. After having put in all big rocks, then the small stones, and now the sand what else is there to put into the vase?

What about a beer? Would a beer go into the vase? Ahh, yes. It would.

See, the vase is your time in life. And the stones are your work. Whatever the work, whichever large or medium or smallest tasks you perform, and however full you day is, there’s always time for rest, space for beer.

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