You might recall the story about the Big Rocks of Life. It’s the story about a jar that you fill with big rocks first, before adding gravel, sand and water. The idea is that if you don’t put the big rocks in the jar first, you’ll never get them in at all. It’s the difference between focusing on the small, unimportant things and the important things that matter.
But what if your life contains too many big rocks?
In a recent episode of the Tim Ferriss Show, Tim talks about this question with author Greg McKeown. What if you did manage to put the big rocks in the jar first, but it turns out that you have too many of them? Do you buy a bigger jar and work harder to deal with all the rocks?
Or is there another solution? A better one?
Greg McKeown thinks there is, and he wrote about it in his book Effortless. His theory is that people tend to do the right things but in the wrong way. As he says in the podcast: “It’s like a weightlifter lifting with his back”. Instead, if you want to be able to deal with more big rocks, you’ve got to find an easier path. Or as Tim Ferriss put it himself once: “What might this look like if it were easy?”.
I see Tim’s question resurface from time to time and the more I read it, the more it gets me thinking. With my work as an IT professional, my education to become a computer science teacher, my work as an athletics trainer and as a volunteer in different areas, I have quite some balls to keep in the air. Or rocks to get into a jar, if you like. So whenever I can, I try to find the easier path. For example, I (re)use computer science lectures I’ve given for my own educational assignments. Or, I use quality resources for athletics activities instead of reinventing the wheel. And so on, and so forth.
I find the easier path.