The Jar of Life.

The Jar of Life

When things in your life are getting tough, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the Mayonaise jar… and the beer.

A teacher stood before his philosophy class with some containers in front of him. After the class began, without saying anything, he picked up a very large, empty mayo jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the teacher then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. As 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 all agreed it was.

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

The teacher then produced two cans of beer 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 teacher, as the laughter died down, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are like the important things – your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favorite passions–things that, if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

“The pebbles are like the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else – the small unimportant stuff”.

“If you put 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 kids. Take time for medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18 holes. There will always be time to clean the house, and mow the lawns. 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 beer represented. The teacher 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 beers.”

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