American Red, White & Blue
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
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles
and poured them I 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."
professor then produced two cups of coffee from
table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively
filling the empty space between the sand. The students
"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 favorite passions---and if everything
else was lost and only they remained, your life would still
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 checkups. Take your spouse out to
dinner. Play another 18.
There will always be time to
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 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."
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