The Mayonnaise Jar

I found this post on my friend Sylvia’s blog who got this from a friend at work. If life has got you down or the stress of life is too much to bear right now, I think you might enjoy this little read on the important things.

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 start 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
It 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 an 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 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 spouse out to dinner.
There will always be time
To clean the house and fix the dripping tap.

‘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. #1 by Cesar Fuentes on August 16, 2011 - 6:43 PM

    Great outlook. This is a post more people should read!

  2. #2 by Jia on July 20, 2011 - 11:45 AM

    nice story Tom, I hope you dun mind sharing this with me…can I copy it?

  3. #3 by Carizza on July 20, 2011 - 9:33 AM

    I hope I can once again contribute a poem.

  4. #4 by mariekb on July 12, 2011 - 2:20 PM

    I too have heard it before and appreciate it more now than ever. Hope you are having a good summer Tom!

  5. #5 by tekia on July 12, 2011 - 2:10 PM

    at the end of reading this all I could do was smile. I enjoyed this very much. Thanks for posting it :-)

  6. #6 by Cherlyn on July 12, 2011 - 9:59 AM

    I enjoyed this, it’s a good way to go through life (especially with the coffee part). I have a feeling this was a scheduled post, where’ve you been tom, miss you!

  7. #7 by savesprinkles1234 on July 12, 2011 - 7:37 AM

    I really like this! Good to see you, Tom, and hope your summer is going well! :)

  8. #8 by therealsharon on July 12, 2011 - 12:45 AM

    I had heard this before in the past but it was nice to hear it again and have this reminder! Thanks!

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