Wednesday, February 15, 2006


When things in your lives seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things--your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else---the small stuff. "If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked.

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."


farmgirl said...

Wonderful. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I received this once in an email. I am glad I was able to find so easily again.

Anonymous said...

I have not read anything as good as this lately and reading this on a bulletin board made me want to own a copy for myself and frame it.


Anonymous said...

This is one of the best "feel good" stories I have ever read. It's an inspiring speech to give to your employees, especially those who are having difficulty in their life.......Kind of puts the right perspective on things!!!! Aloha! Queen Bee! <><

Anonymous said...

Good for life anywhere in the worls. Urgent for the way of life we are living in the UK.

Anonymous said...

You know, it is too bad we have to be reminded from time to time to stop and smell the roses. The grind of daily life can get us all caught up in an endless circle of mindless actions.

This type of thing is just perfect of what we need once in a while to jerk us back to reality.

I challenge all of you who read this to actually do it, rather than think it. After all not much gets done if you merely think it. Great works occur because someone started to do it!

Have a great day! :)


Karla said...

My neighbor, who's cats I feed while she is away, had this up on her refrigerator. I read it over and over; it is very inspirational. :)

Anonymous said...

Only a person who had a huge knowledge of philosophy could come up with something as profound as this. I'm astounded.