Mayonnaise Jar and 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 a! nd 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.”