The Jar of Life

pink orchid

pink orchid

When things in your life seem to have got out of control, when all the hours in a day are just not enough, remember this story:

A professor stood before his philosophy class with a few items in front of him. When the class began, he picked up a very large empty 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 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 unanimous “yes.”

The professor then produced two cups of tea 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: family, children, your health, your friends, and your favorite 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. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. 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 tea represented. The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how busy your life is, there’s always room for a couple of cups of tea with your loved ones.”

Thank you to my lovely friend Priya Sher for this lovely story posted on her blog.

One Response to “The Jar of Life”

  1. Canon Andrew White Says:

    this is so true and so good thank you Keith

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