Friday, 5 October 2007

Big stuff, little stuff and important stuff.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.

When the class began, wordlessly, he 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 a resounding "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 faith, your health, your friends, and your favourite passions-things that 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 partner out to dinner.
Play another round of golf. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn."

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!"


  1. What? No room for a glass of wine?

  2. Funny, I would have thought you would be against pouring a glass of wine into a jar of sand.

  3. This is so good! Thanks Lee for sharing this..I imagine you as the professor..Now..when was the last time I had my Starbucks with a friend..

  4. I love this. I originally heard it as "always room for a beer"... so for those who prefer wine - there's room!

  5. An exceptional example on how to live life, thanks Lee

  6. so beautifully put... and that latte looks yummy too. thanks for the morning thought. good way to start the day. big hugs, snowsparkle

  7. Cool class!

    I had a science teacher do close to the same thing...
    well, not quite the same thing.
    He had a glass, filled it with water, took a sip and pulled out a bag of cotton balls.
    Somehow he analogized our lives to the glass of water, and then showed us how much homework we were going to be having during his course, and then, amid our groans, he said it'll all fit.
    "HA!" we hought...
    And he ended up putting every danged one of those cotton balls into that glass of water, spilling nothing (or, at least, nothing we could see)

    and his punchline was, we can always do more homework than we think.

    I'de rather just have a cup of coffee.

  8. A great lesson here.......there is always room for coffee....haha

    (and, don't sweat the small stuff) a lesson that if learned early in life can really help a parents relationship with their kids.......

  9. I've seen this before but had forgotten....Thanks for the reminder.

  10. Very good...but I prefer to share a glass of wine than a cup of coffee! ;)


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