People whose anxiousness interferes with their daily functioning to the point of requiring prescription medication to function at a “normal” level (to avoid killing the cat, the husband, or coworker) more times than not have poor coping skills. I realize there’s a difference of opinion as to the causes of anxiety in people. But in my experience this seems to be the most underlying cause -- insufficient coping skills. But often people bring things upon themselves without realizing it. For example, without realizing it they allow their lives to get out of balance. They are poorly organized, and unable to prioritize tasks and errands to the point of operating and achieving on a very inefficient level. Some to the point of becoming “mental cripples.” They lose sight of what’s most important in their life to the point of allowing a tidal
wave of lesser important things overwhelm them resulting in feelings of hopelessness, ineptness, and unworthiness.
With respect to what is important in one’s life and the meaning it has for balancing one’s life I came across the following story that I think illustrates this point well.
One day, this expert was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration I'm sure those students will never forget. After we share it with you, we hope you'll never forget it either. As this man stood in front of the group of high-powered over achievers, 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. 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 the jar full?" Everyone in the class said, "Yes." Then he asked, "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 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 on to 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 filled 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 is 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."
Many who are anxious fail to ask themselves the question, “What is most important to me? (What are the ‘Big Rocks’ in your life?) Is it your family? Your faith? Your business? Your education? Your finances? A cause? Learning to put the BIG ROCKS in your schedule first will ensure that you in fact get them in. Ask yourself this question: What are the ‘Big Rocks’ in my life? Family or business?
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