For most people, life entails juggling several responsibilities. You have your work, your family, your health, and other various commitments. Now when juggling physical items, there’s always the possibility that one or more may eventually hit the floor. And the more items you try to juggle, the more likely this will occur.
The same is true in juggling the various responsibilities of our lives. The more we try to do, the more likely something will get dropped. But not everything we juggle in life is created equal. Gary Keller uses the following illustration of juggling rubber compared to juggling glass to make the point.
“…work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls—family, health, friends, integrity—are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.”1
Some things you can afford to drop if needed. But some things are different. They’re like glass. Once they fall, you’ll have to go through the long and painful process of putting together the broken pieces—if that’s possible at all.
Keller mentions family, health, friends, and integrity as being ones you don’t want to drop. You may have others you’d add to the list, but those are a solid starting point. Regardless of what’s on your list, though, the key is intentionality—intentionally deciding which areas are most important and investing in them accordingly.
Depending on how many things you’re trying to juggle, prioritizing your most important areas may cause you to let go of some others. It’s possible some things will fall. But if they do, at least you’ll know the most important areas are being tended to. Which is far better than striving to keep a ball of rubber in the air, only to see a ball of glass fall and shatter as a result.
Questions: Which areas in your life are the ones you never want to drop? Which ones are too valuable to let fall?
James Patterson, Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas, as quoted in Gary Keller, The ONE Thing, p. 82. ↩︎