Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Empty Mayonnaise Jar

I received this charming story in an email from my aunt.  I don't know who wrote it but it struck a cord in my heart.  I've since learned that it's been circulated in emails and blogs for years.  So I decided to post it.  Mostly because true or not it's such a great story... but also because it has inspired me to look at life a little different then I have in the past.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

A professor stood before his 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 proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. So 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 a 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.

The Moral of the Story
The professor waited for the laughter to subside…

“Now”, said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things… God, your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favorite passions. Things that 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 home, your car.”

“The sand is everything else… The small stuff.” If you put the sand into the jar first, 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 critical to your happiness.

Spend time with those you with your children. Take your partner to dinner. Play another 18. Take time to get medical checkups.  There will always be time to clean the house or fix the disposal.

Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities, the rest is just sand.

One student asked, “What about the coffee?" The professor responded, “No matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a cup of coffee with a friend"

Remember… Every day is a gift, and the quality of your life is your gift to yourself.

Now doesn't that make you want to go out and have a cup of coffee with a friend? Remember don't sweat the small stuff... It's just sand.

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  1. Imagine if we didn't drive our kids to college, go to the Grand Canyon, Washington DC, Disneyland, Mexican Riviera cruise. We did them on very short budgets but, God has blessed us so much as a result. I love the golf balls.

  2. I must say in reading this it all boils down to how each one of us look at things in our life. Setting our priorities as we get older in life. How many times has someone said or heard stop and "smell the roses". The funny thing is in my early and mid 20's when I was having the time of my life I thought back then,was I really having the time of my life? or was life passing me by! I will have these wonderful memories from each one of these friends I came in contact with the rest of my life. A lot of fun/laughs with some great friends and then everyone seemed to disappear and get there life on track. Now at 50 my time of my life is my husband,our new house we just bought,traveling,my 2 spoiled dogs and his grown kids and one 9 year old grandson we have yet to meet,first time will be this June 2010. No one knows until it happens to you (bad health) how much you take for granted that you can wake up everyday and feel good and get on with your day. That doesn't happen for me because of my bad health. But I look at the bright side of things,I'm not missing a arm or a leg,I can walk,drive my car and can't do some things,it's not the end of the world. I look at it to be half full and not half empty the glass. When do you ever call a friend and say I'm buying let's go for coffee during the week somewhere? or let's have lunch I'll meet you somewhere. Doesn't it always seem everyone is so busy to stop and have a cup of coffee with you. They are just going to fast and life is passing them by and they do not realize it. Always tell your family you love them,make sure they know that in their hearts. Spend time with your family as much as you can. Everyday is a blessing for me and the next 30 years are the golf balls, the sand can wait and I'm cleaning the house maybe sometime next week maybe. I don't sweat the small stuff!! Life is so uncertain. I'm glad to be apart of your journey. Signed off a Woodland Gal!