I posted this in Sept. 2013 … but I think it’s about time to re-post. Personal I just love this story.
When things in your life seem almost too much to handle when 24 hours are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and two cups of coffee:
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly 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.
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. Again he asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. 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 like family, children, health, and other things that are passionate in your heart. – Things that if everything else was lost and only they remained – would still be full, your life. The pebbles are the other 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, it is not possible to make room for the pebbles or the golf balls. So it is with 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.
So, pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Spend time with your children. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another about what makes you passionate. Always be time to clean the house and other things that are less important. Take care of the “golf balls” first – the things that really matter. Restore what is most important in your life. The rest is just sand.
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled and said,-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 cup of coffee with a friend.
“Never be so busy as not to think of others.”
Note; this story is written by Dr. Stephen R. Covey (1932 – 2012), an American educator, author, businessman, and keynote speaker. (text; wekepedia.org)
Photos provide by and thanks to;
I almost felt like you were telling or teaching me something. I loved reading this. It was excellent. I am going to reblog this so others can learn from it also
Terry, I was thinking of you when I wrote the post – it’s a truly great story … glad my friend sent it to me. Had forgotten about it. Many years since I last read it.
Thanks for reblogging – I can see that some of your friends has read it … and clicked like. I think we should have this in mind all the time, because we concentrate too much on the sand.
Reblogged this on terry1954 and commented:
one of life’s lessons. A must read for all busy people
Thanks for this gesture, Terry.
Luv it!! Adding Bob Dylan was brilliant as my Brit friends would say. Well done!
Mary, thank you so much … this song I haven’t heard for years … remembered it when I wrote about the coffee.
😀 Yes! Yes! Yes!
Have a wonderful and HAPPY week – I bet you are terribly excited about your trip!?
Are you feeling any better yet?
Sleep well, big hug xo 🙂
Dia, yes I start to get excited now … but I’m worried about how my “sorry ass” will handle the trip – but that problem we have to deal with when it comes.
Not any better .. and nothing from the hospital.
I just love this Viveka.. thank you so much for sharing it 😀
Helen, my pleasure … so your adventure in London on FB. Good for you!!!!!. Haven’t they learned from Iraq????
Evidently not !
I remember that story… great isn’t it?!! 🙂
Have a beautiful September, Viveka!! 🙂
Yes, it truly is …. I had totally forgotten about it. Many years since I read the first time.
Wonderful September for you too. Marina … my has started with rain for 2 full days.
I love that story! Such great advice to keep in mind.
Cindy, soory – I have missed your replay … so true, we should be remind every week really.
FANTASTIC!!!!! I wish I could learn to live this way!
I know … we should all .. forget about the sand *smile
It’s a truly great story that has been flying around for years – but a friend sent to me yesterday .. so I just passed it on after translating with help of google.
It was perfect!
beautiful. I am sharing on face book.
You are so welcome. Thanks!
So much truth in this Viveka. Great advice!
Colleen, this story has been around for more than 20 years … I think, but a friend sent to me yesterday … and I knew directly what to do with it.
I have heard different versions of it. But it is always a good reminder. And we get so busy that it never fails to hit me like it’s the first time I read it.
Okay .. but I think this is the original version – as Stephen has told it and practice it, but it doesn’t matter so long as the message is there … and the end the cardamon is the same – as my grandma said.
It is certainly a great message Viveka. And I can imagine being in that classroom saying YES every time. Until he poured that coffee in. 🙂
You may want to shake your head at me, but I had to look up “cardamon”. 🙂
Cardamom???? I spelled it wrong – I’m surprised you couldn’t figure it what I meant. Sorry for the misspelling. Colleen, shit happens every day *laughing.
No, I did look for “cardamon” but did only get “cardamom” and figured that’s what you meant. Either way, I still had to look it up!!!! 🙂
I didn’t notice I spelled it wrongly, but my hands are quicker than my brain. Also it’s not a spice that we use very often, expect in Indian food.
Well said Viveka – we can never be reminded too often to keep things in perspective 🙂
A friend sent it to me yesterday … so I translated it – many years since I read it the first time. Excellent story.
I have read this before, and it is just so true and good…
Yes, I came across many years ago … but totally forgotten about it – we should have a reminder … more often.
Great story. Wonder who worte it.
The last lesson is paramount….I dont function without my coffee 😀
Yes, it’s truly is … and we put too much afford on to the sand. Before my cancer treatments I drank coffee constantly – living on it, but during treatment it tasted terrible just like metal and I didn’t drink coffee for 3 months, now I only drink one massive mug in the morning, but that is a MUST. So I’m with you on the coffee.
Reblogged this on photographyofnia.
I LOVED it so much dear Viveka, what a wonderful touches about life… Thank you, have a nice Monday and new week, love and hugs, nia
Thank you so much for your comment and for for reblogging this post – it many years seen I read it last time – but a friend sent to me in Swedish yesterday and I translated it. Something we all should have in mind – that so much that we worry about is just sand.
Yes, it’s a truly wonderful story – just found out who had written it so I added the details.
Julie, I was thinking of you and Terry, as I was working on this post.
love this teachings! I really need to read it! Thanks 🙂
Gianna, we all need to read it .. at least once a week.
Thanks for taking the time.
Reblogged this on Waiting for the Karma Truck and commented:
I have read and heard this story many times – and it still strikes a chord in me..
Thank you so much for your reblog …. we needed to be reminded more often about what is really important in life – we are too stuck in the sand at times.
Great minds think alike, I just blogged this story last week! 🙂 I love it!
It has been forgotten by my for so many years .. if my friend hadn’t emailed it .. this post had never been done. Such a great story .. have you read “The Star Thrower”???
No, but if you recommend it, I will definitely look into it! 🙂
I did a post earlier about it … beautiful story – here is the link if you are interested. http://wp.me/p293Pw-3zB
So did I! Great minds think alike! 🙂
I was over reading your story – I know many people has posted it .. but you’re the first that I have come across. Thanks for the link.
Thanks for stopping by and reading it! I guess we both thought it was an important story to retell! 🙂
As a golfer who never makes time to golf anymore, I see another message! But thanks for this great reminder.
I’m trying something this month: not going to read one word about craft (marketing or writing) and will spend the freed-up time on producing new fiction. Cool, huh?
Hi there, Lynn …. you are going to be a busy lady with your mission. Good luck to you! And less golf again that will bring.
Thank you so much for stopping and for commenting … this story has been around for many years, but it landed in my inbox yesterday in Swedish .. so I knew what to do.
Great story and messages. Thank you for posting it.
All my pleasure. *smile Glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for replaying.
I’ve always adored teachers like that. I kind of grasped the idea after the first trial but even then , it’s such a surprise to read about the things, because being surprised so many people in my neighborhood in general hell bent on the “golf balls” I’ve just resorted to all the small things to make me smile easy . Almost forgot (:
Some years ago .. somebody some me this in practice – and then I read the story – and it’s amazing how much you can get in the jar will golf balls and rocks.
Thank you so much for taking the time to comment .. and for visiting my world herr.
I love this story! Thank you for sharing it.
Thank you for visiting and for commenting. *smile
Thank you Viveka. This is just what I needed. My problem really isn’t a problem in the grand scheme of things. I’d also like to reblog this. Carol
Carol, you’re more than welcome … just do one thing at the time … and forget the sand. *smile
Reblogged this on mamacormier and commented:
Viveka’s post today put a new perspective on my so called problem. This is a great message for anyone who thinks their life is too busy. It’s all about priorities. The post also has the best Bob Dylan song I’ve ever heard.
Excellent post, Viveka. It really made me think. A life lesson for sure. 🙂
Ad, yes … same with me when I got it in my mail yesterday. Maybe I should post it once per week. *smile
Kept me captive all the way through, Viveka, and then I remembered that I’d read it before. The truth always bears repeating. 🙂
Is it your NYC trip soon? Going to be difficult? You need a hug AND some cushions.
Yes, on Saturday … have some lucky pills in my handbag – I’m sure it will be okay and in New York I don’t have planes to sit on my ass that much. I’m bit worried about the flight between LHR and JFK, but I’m a Viking. *smile
Put the warrior helmet on and chew a few lucky pills- you’ll be great 🙂 I’ll be thinking of (envying 🙂 ) you. Morning hug!
Morning, hug back …. today I have to do some homework – cleaning, my friend arrives tomorrow.
a great lesson and i loved the music too )
Thank you so much, the story is fantastic and we should be reminded more often, the song is a one of my forgotten favorite.
Thanks for visiting and commenting.
I recognized this story, how wonderful to have you share it to remind me again of what’s important in life. It’s so easy to get stuck in the sand, isn’t it? I’m glad I stopped by here today! xx
Barbara, you are always welcome to stop .. nice to get a visit from you now and then.
I think we all need to be remind about it – that we put energy on things that is not of any importance.
Thanks for the visit.
Thanks for the wonderful reminders!
My pleasure, Frank … we should only get reminded more often.
Wow, that’s awesome. I love that story and the lesson it teaches.
When I was looking on my reader, your music started playing and I didn’t know where it was coming from! It totally freaked me out until I found your post. lol
Leanne, thank you so much … you are not the first one that have wondered where the music comes from.
Sorry, I didn’t know it was playing in the reader. I hardly use it, I go by the emails I get. Had no complains that it annoy people, yet. Yes, it a story that we should remind ourselves with often. When I worked I was sometimes so stucked in the sand.
It’s quite an old story, and I seen it in pratcie too – but that was years ago. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Welcome back.
The music was actually quite relaxing! I just thought my computer had a ghost. haha
I love this story 😀 i included it on my own blog not long ago
have a lovely day, saida x
Saida, thank you for stopping and for commenting – it must be at least 20 years since I first “met” the story and even show in practice.
It’s a fantastic story .. that we should be remind of more often.
This was most definitely an excellent read!
Thank you so much, Kay .. I love this story. And I’m glad it landed in my inbox the other day.
Excellent post Viveka, to remind us of what really is important in life. Whether we have heard this before or not, it is worth repeating often. 🙂
Karen, totally agree with you …. *smile Worth repeating time after time.
This is a great story! Thank you for the research so I finally know the origins of it. I usually tell this one year two, at schoolstart, in my classes. When the classes are mostly consisting of young men I change the coffee into beer!
A-C, great idea …. *smile – I think the story is so great and we should be reminded more often. Yes, I din’t know who had written the story, but I found out with help of goggle, of course.
I’ve not heard this analogy before. Very very good. I will keep it in my mind at all times! x
Wendy, nice to have you for a visit – yes, we should be reminded more often about this. It’s truly good .. we are too deep in the sand at times.
Reblogged this on Adurna Blue and commented:
Thank you so much … for the reblogging. Welcome back at any time. *smile
A great reminder! (And I have one of those weeks coming up, so I will keep it in mind!)
Naomi, we should be reminded …. all the time about that the sand isn’t that important. *smile
Excellent, Viveka. I needed that 🙂
Thanks, Noeleen … we all need a reminder now and then about to bother too much about the sand in our lives.
A great story indeed!
Yes, I think we should read from time to time. Thanks.
Thank you so much for the post. Reading Stephen Covey’s book “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” was both my class assignment as well as my work assignment.
My pleasure, I love reading this story … I wish I knew about it while I was working. *smile I had never heard about him until I came a cross this story. I can image that he had a loads of good advice.
Yes, even the outline of the seven habits is good.
He seems to have been a man with the right values and loads of common sense.
Our schools use a simple version of the 7 habits for the students.
I remember it too, Vivi. Such a good lesson 🙂 🙂 How are you this bright and cheerful Sunday? Sad for some people, isn’t it always? I just listened to Boots of Spanish Leather and now Coffee is playing with my breakfast toast and marmite. Beautiful!
Marmite????!!!! Terrible stuff *smile … I’m now going to jump into the shower – I cut half a finger off the other day, cutting lettuce – so I’m a bit handicapped. After that I will have a cup of milky coffee and toast with cheese and jam. My favourite treat. Have a lovely Sunday. Showerhug.
Eek! You’re as bad as me with my wasp sting and arthritic knee 🙂 🙂 Painful stuff!
Yes, somebody said a while again that .. it comes with age. And I replayed that everything comes with age, except the money. *smile Wasp sting???!!!!! Have you been too close to nature??? Monday hug with sunshine.
Vron’s funeral today but I will be with her family and friends and there will be lots of hugs. I had a hand like a suet pudding and a knee the same! Better today. Life! 🙂 🙂 But, as you always say, the alternative… not so hot!
I’m sure you will find some comfort in your friends funeral with her family and friends and I’m sure it will be a beautiful day even if there will be sadness. But it’s also a closure. So sorry to read about your hand and … the knee. Yes, you say … it’s life – and sometimes there can be too much of it at once. My thoughts goes out to you.
I’m home again, and it was a wonderful gathering. Thankful now for all I have 🙂 🙂
Jo, that … reads so nice! *smile
Oh, I love that professor! It’s a brilliant story about getting your priorities right…and don’t sweat the small stuff…. At work we used to talk about 80/20…..
Yes, me too …. I just love this story and I think we need to be reminded time now and then.
Thank you Vivi, I needed this today 🙂
My pleasure, I think …. we all need to take part of it more and more often those days. Today I bought Bill’s lemonade here in Landskrona … a budget shop stock them … but under the French name. Bought 6 bottles for £2.80 each. Happy days!!!!
That’s fab! Right under your nose the whole time! Off to US soon – New Orleans, Memphis & Nashville – gonna get my tunes on!
I have been in New Orleans …. look at for the tropical storms. NOLA was a okay … but a bit like a posh Blackpool. Great food … every where. NOLA has calories in the air. Enjoy and I looking forward to the reports. Travel safe.
Thank you Vivika – hoping the hurricanes keep well away! Take care