Monday, 14 September 2009

The Mayonnaise Jar and Two Cups of Coffee

The Mayonnaise Jar and Two Cups of Coffee

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 two 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 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. 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 in life. Your God, your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite 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 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."

* * * * * * *

This story was given to me by my lovely friend Maureen. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!



  1. I like your blog, but your font size is way too small. I think you can increase it in your layout settings. A larger font size would be easier on these old eyes of mine.


  2. I seen this before but still good
    Hugs Janice

  3. I had seen this before Ros but had forgotten about it so it was good to be reminded. Maggi

  4. Thanks Ros - I needed a bit of cheering up today. (Just missing DD1 who's just started uni 500 miles away - she's loving it!) Fiona.

  5. Lovely! I hadn't heard it before, but I always tell myself that no one on their deathbed wishes that they had done more housework!

    Pomona x

  6. great Ros, first time for me. I liked it very much.


  7. Just letting you know your postcard doing the draw soon...hugs Khris

  8. Thank you Ros - that message should be a sticky note as a reminder on my forehead! I have way too much sand covering the golf balls. But I sure do like the 2 cups of coffee with friends:o)
    Have a wonderful weekend.

  9. Thanks for sharing this story, I enjoyed it.