sometimes i just need a little reminder about what’s really important in my life.

by @according2kelly on January 11, 2008

today has been definitely one of those days, i’d even go far as saying one of those weeks. luckily i came across this sweet story. you’ve probably read it before, but it’s definitely one that should be re-read often, if not daily. so, here’s something to think about over the weekend & every other day after that…

the mayonnaise jar

when things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day is not enough, remember the 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, 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 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 – god, family, children, health, friends, and 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, house, and 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 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. wet 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.

8 comments
Bridget
Bridget

I love this story. I can see how so many of my days are spent so busy but doing absolutely nothing of importance. Great reminder.

Marty
Marty

This is a different version than I've ever heard, and I like it better. Good reminder.

Bonnie B.
Bonnie B.

I've never heard that story before. It's definitely one to read often, as you said. Thanks for sharing!

Traci
Traci

What a great story! Loved it and have never heard it before!Great analogies too! Thank you for sharing.

the hogan's
the hogan's

love this. i have definitly had one of those days! thanks for this, its boosted my spirits.

Natasha
Natasha

What a great analogy, so true!!

Lacie
Lacie

I soooo needed this story today!I have been trying to iron out what is most important to me and where my time needs to be most spent. However, I always seem to not include myself. I am working to put my needs (a shower, a walk...)somewhere in that Mayo jar.

crystal
crystal

This is NOT the same story! It's slightly different & just as good. I like the two stories together; both of them have a sweet message. Thanks for your comment. I like it when I have a moment--like yours--that makes me realize how positive & uplifting blogging is.

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