One day in summer a professor stood before his science class with a few items on the table. He picked up a large jar and filled it to the brim with golf balls. He then asked his students to raise their hands if they thought the jar was full. A sea of hands instantly shot up – the students unanimously agreed the jar had to be full.
The professor then proceeded to grab a box of pebbles and he poured them into the jar. He picked up the jar, shook it around, and put it back on the table. The pebbles shuffled into the areas between the golf balls. He then asked the room full of students to raise their hands again if they thought the jar was full. The same sea of hands rose up.
Next, the professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. As expected, the sand filled up all the empty spaces between the pebbles. He asked once more if they thought the jar was full. The students again raised their hands.
The professor then magically made two beers appear from under the table and he poured the contents of each beer into the jar. This filled the spaces between the grains of sand. The room filled with laughter.
‘Now,’ muttered the professor ‘You need to understand that this jar is a representation of your life. The golf balls are the big, important things such as: your family, friends, children, health, and passions – and if you ever lost everything and only had these big things remaining, your life would be rich and full. The pebbles represent other important things like your job, house and your automobile. The sand is essentially everything else. It represents the small things.
The professor continues: ‘If you choose to pour sand into the jar first,’ he asserts, ‘there won’t be any room left for the pebbles or the golf balls. Life is the same.
If you choose spend all your time and energy on small things you won’t have room for the bigger things that hold much more importance to you.
What is the moral of the story according to the professor? Make sure to pay attention to the golf balls – the things that are absolutely critical to your happiness.
Spend time with your family. Spend time with your parents. Your children. Take time to see your grandparents. Make an occasional visit to aunts and uncles. Take out your spouse on a dinner date. Play golf with your favorite buddies. There will always be time to do chores, clean, and take out the trash.
Focus first on the golf balls – these are the the things that matter most. Ruthlessly set your priorities – write them down in a file if you must. Remember, the rest is just a bunch of sand.
The professor saw a hand shoot up. He pointed to the student, and she then asked what the beer represented. The professor looked at her, grinned, and said, ‘Thanks for asking.’ The beer is here to show that you that no matter how full you think your life is, there’s always room to have a couple of beers with a friend”.