What's important

Now, I don't LOVE forwards, but I got this one from a friend, and I just loved this illustration. I've been thinking more and more lately about how to prioritize my life, and what things really do matter, and this one came on just the right day for that.


One day, 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, 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 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 God, family, children, your health, friends, and favorite passions. If everything else was gone from your life ...

but these things still remained ... your life would still be full."

The professor continued, "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 said, "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 18 holes. 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."


I've been feeling lately like sometimes I fill my jar with sand & pebbles before the golf balls, and he's absolutely right, if you do that, you can't fit the golf balls in. I really want to work on determining what is actually a golf ball, and what may be a pebble or sand. I'd also like to start getting a little coffee in my jar.


jersey said...

The version I had seen ended with a beer rather than a cup of coffee, but, well...

In any event, it is so true. Survey after survey continues to show that people lead much more peaceful lives if they focus on God and family first, and the rest second.

Amy said...

This definitely is a good reminder. I have demonstrated this with rocks before, encouraging to put the big rocks in first. I hope you are doing well, dear Sarah. Miss you!