A philosophy 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 rocks,
rocks about 2″ in diameter.
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, of course, rolled into
the open areas between the rocks.
He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
He then asked once more if the jar was full. This time the students were sure and they responded with a unanimous “YES!”
The professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and
proceeded to pour their 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 rocks are the
important things – your family, your partner, your health, your
children?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 house, 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
rocks. The same goes for your 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
partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the
house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.
“Take care of the rocks 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 beer 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 beers.”