The Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Cups of Coffee
What is important in your life
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 2 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
He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between
the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the was 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
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--- God, your family, your children, your health, your
friends, and your favorite 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-- 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
balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on
small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important
"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play
your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse 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."