Priorities, Dinnie Stones, and the World’s Strongest Woman

On a rainy day in Scotland in 2019, the World’s Strongest Woman, Donna Moore successfully lifted the Scottish Dinnie Stones, weighing a massive 733 pounds.  Where other women and some men failed, Donna lifted them. 

The stones aren’t of equal weight either: the larger one weighing 415 lbs and the smaller one weighing 318 lbs makes the lift even more difficult.

Next up was Jenny Todd, Britain’s strongest woman and when she was about to lift the stones, a coach said this: “Jenny, stand over the big one a bit more.  Forget about the small one, just pull the big one.”  Lift the big one, and the smaller one will come.

In life, when we’re lifting unequal “stones”, if we focus on the macro, the micros will come along.  Quite often, when we begin an endeavor, it’s easy to get caught up in all the other stuff. 

Ultimately, Jenny failed to lift the stones.  She just doesn’t have the size that Donna has. But, that coach’s advice was spot-on.

In a 2020 Forbes article, “What are Your Big Rocks?”, it refers to your big rock as your priority.  And it goes on to explain the true meaning of the word “priority” and that it should never be plural.  We often talk in terms of our priorities.  Derived from medieval Latin, prior means the one thing with all precedence.  One thing; one priority.  It was never meant to be plural.

Anyways, the article states that we run into three problems when we think in terms of priorities: 1) We have too many “priorities”. 2) We don’t or cannot differentiate the truly important “priorities”. 3) We let other less important things get in the way of focusing on what really matters.

The following story helps to bring this point home and I’ll do my best to shorten it:

A time management expert is lecturing a group of business school students.  He pulls out a gallon-sized mason jar and filled it with as many fist-sized rocks as possible.  He asked the class if the jar was full and they all said “yes”.

Wrong.  He then poured gravel into the jar and asked again.  The students began to catch on. 

Then he poured sand up to the brim and finally a pitcher of water until the jar was actually completely full.  He then said, “If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”

Most people aren’t as strong as Donna Moore, so our best strategy is giving our big Dinnie Stones in life, priority.

Good lifting.  Cheers.

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