The Mayonnaise Jar and 2
Cups of Coffee
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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 2 cups of coffee.
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 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 favorite
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
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 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 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 (pot of tea) with a friend."
By Author unknown