Thursday, August 18, 2005

Golf balls

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 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 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.

"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 God, your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favourite 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 house, and 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 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 partner 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 with a friend."

(a re-post, to remind myself, and because none of us can ever be reminded too often)


Justin Thyme said...

What a great lesson to be reminded of regularly! :-)

Shrinking Wop said...


I appreciate your posts on my blog. For some reason Haloscan is deleting whole groups of comments and I don't know why. I don't know squat about blog templates, Haloscan and all that stuff so I don't even try to figure it out.

I just wanted to say I appreciate your comments.

You're so right by the way. We all need to slow down every once in a while and enjoy a good cup of Joe and some time with friends.

Dlynne said...

Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such kind words on my post. I enjoy reading your posts as well. Have a great day.

saby said...

just say when ..

iam always free
but no one ever invites me to their home

not even dat guy above

Justin Thyme said...

Saby, my friend! If you are ever in my area, you have an open invitation to my home. I would love to sit and have a cup of coffee with you sometime... I'll bet you have some tremendously interesting and fascinating stories about growing up and living in your part of the world.

flew & died said...

im just a passerby. but that was very meaningful. =D

isay said...

just what i needed, thanks for sharing it again!

i am feeling better already and thanks for visiting my blog.

NWJR said...

Yeah. What the professor said.

Dancewriter said...

I love this post!

Great story.

Autumn Storm said...

Justin - I love this, because it is human nature to forget, frequently.
Tony - glad you are still receiving my comments. You have such talent that it was frustrating not knowing whether you were hearing me tell you so :-)
Dlynne, as I said, you are a constant source of inspiration.
Saby - my place is just like the local diner, there is always coffee on the pot and guest are always welcome ;-)
"me", thanks for stopping by :-)
Isay, glad to hear it!
nwjr, so nice to see you back in the blogsphere - hope you are feeling better!
dancewriter - nice when people agree with me ;)

Lindsey said...

You're such a kind and funny person. That really was a wonderful story...I'll have to keep that in mind.

And if you aren't an author damn well should be.

Trée said...

Autumn, is it possible for you to get any better :)

Wonderful post my dear sweet friend. Your blog is the first one I check each morning ;)

Take care and sweet dreams.

Ted Kushner said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Autumn Storm said...

Oh, gosh, Linny and Trée, because this was a re-post and I had explained its origins first time around, I didn't think to make sure it was understood that I did not write it - it was one of the numerous email forwards, I receive on a daily basis and I loved it instantly.
I seem to have unintentionally taken credit for this story! Sorry (blush)!

Keshi said...

Yup seen this one b4 n it is one of the few stories that's in my heart for good. So very inspirational n so very true!

And yeah, I never miss out on coffee with a friend even if my whole world is collapsing ard me.. :)

Trée said...

Autumn, we need to teach you to stop apologizing ;)

The story is often told in many differnt venues. Stephen Covey has used this story for years and you can find a version of it in his book the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. His version uses big rocks, pebbles, sand and then water, but the story is the same.

I applaud you for giving a great story a wider readership. Who wrote it--I say who cares. It's a story worth telling over and over again.

Now, go find you a box and put all your apologies in it, lock it and throw away the key.

You have nothing but warm hearted and loving friends here. Keep those postings coming.

My day starts with a cup of black italian roast coffee made with a french press and the lastest postings from The Decadent Autumn Storm.

By the way, I think your blog title is absolutely deliciously delightful with a touch of naughtiness thrown in for good measure.


Justin Thyme said...

Well said, Tre!

Autumn Storm said...

Trée, I'm getting used to having you around! Your warmth, humour, caring nature and generosity of spirit are are ever-present in your comments, just as they are the backbone of your own postings.
Autumn x

Trée said...


. . .slips away to look in mirror to check that head is not getting bigger . . .