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Thursday, 9 December 2010

The Mayonnaise Jar & 2 Cups of Coffee

When things in your lives seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the two cups of coffee (source unknown).

A Professor stood before his Philosophy class and had some items in front of him.  When the class began, he wordlessly 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 that 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 - your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favourite passions - and 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 to you."

"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.  Play with your children.  Take time to get medical check-ups.  Take your spouse out to dinner.  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 enquired what the coffee represented.  The Professor smiled.  "I'm glad you asked.  It just goes to show that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."

17 comments:

Belle said...

I love this! It is true, we must put the most important things first.

caterpillar said...

I've read this earlier...and setting the priorities thing is something all of us need to do...and coffee...there'll always be time for coffee... :)

Odie Langley said...

Having a cup right now and have heard this before but never enjoyed it as much as I just did really taking it all in. Such a wonderful way to look at life and how to best live it. Thanks and have a marvelous day.
Odie

Thisisme said...

I'll join you for that cup of coffee, Caterpillar!

Thisisme said...

I thought people might have seen it before, Odie, but thought it was always worth re-reading. Glad you enjoyed it.

Becky said...

Thank you for sharing this! I love it! I have read it before (and almost blogged about it!!), but a pickle jar was used! Haha ~ My preacher once preached a sermon on this and used a clear bucket and some stones, rocks, and sand for his demonstration. It was wonderful and a great message! :)

Gawgus things... said...

Love the last bit and loving your snowflakes - very festive!

Jumble Mash said...

That's amazing! Such a good thing to remember. Thanks!

Sandy said...

Great post and so true. I've never heard if before, thanks.

Bouncin' Barb said...

This was so great This. And isn't it so true. If you weren't so far away I'd put the pot on!

LindyLouMac said...

I have never seen it before, so am glad you shared it. Great piece.

Becky said...

I see you found Blogmation! :) The snowflakes look great!

Shady Del Knight said...

What an excellent lesson that truly illustrates how to set priorities in life. Thanks for sharing it, Thisisme, and thank you very much for subbing to my blog. I am joining yours, too!

becca said...

this was so good i loved it and it is so true we should always fill out life with the important things. thank you for the reminder.

Olive Cooper said...

It's snowing! Love it and your parable cause you know how I feel about family and coffee! Or if you didn't coffee is my vice.

Sandra said...

That's terrific. I had read it before, but how quickly we forget this lesson when life gets a little rough. There's one to print out and stick on the fridge.

Thisisme said...

Thanks for all your comments everyone. It's right though, we do forget these words when life gets a little tough. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could ALL meet up for that cup of coffee?!