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Golf Balls & Coffee

October 3rd, 2007

image 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 2 cups of coffee…

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some imageitems in front of him. He picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and filled it with golf balls. He asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed it was. The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly and the pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed it was. The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. image

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 2 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.

As the laughter subsided, the professor said, “Now, 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, your 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, 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 of 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. Spend time with your parents. Visit with your grandparents. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse to 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 and said, “I’m glad you asked. The coffee just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.

 


got this in an email, the original author is unknown to me. The concept isn’t new, the moral was taught in a Seven Habits of Highly Successful People class that I attended 8 year ago. I’m not a master at keeping the balance, so any reminder is welcome.

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  1. October 3rd, 2007 at 14:15 | #1

    I have heard a similar description of life elsewhere too. I disagree with possessions being one of the golf balls though. Also the one I heard had beer, not coffee. That makes it more fun, but less Baptist.

  2. October 3rd, 2007 at 14:16 | #2

    Brother Bob always declined coffee when offered with, “No thanks, I’m Christian.”

    lol

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