The Mayonnaise Jar


The Mayonnaise Jar

I didn’t compose this story, but its a great illustration for life.

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, When 24 hours in a day isn’t enough; remember the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy 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 started to fill it with golfballs. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was full.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured it into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rooled into the open areas bethween the golfballs. He again asked the students 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 abd poured the entire contents into the jar, effectely filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now”, said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you ro recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golfballs are the important things- God, famiily, children, health, friends, and favorite passions. Things that if everything else was lost and only remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the things that matter like your job, house, and 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 golfballs. The same goes for life.” 

“If you spend all of your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.”

So…

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 to dinner. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the dripping tap.

Take care of the golfballs 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 am 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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