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Life, golf balls, pebbles and sand


Well-known member
Feb 2, 2012

This has been posted at a number of sites.
I think it deserves repeating.

A professor stood before his Philosophy class.
He has some items in front of him.

He showed a large empty mayonnaise jar
and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.
He asked the class if the jar was full.
They agreed that it was.

He picked up a box of pebbles
and poured them into the jar.
He shook the jar and the pebbles filled
the spaces between the golf balls.
He again asked the class if the jar was full.
They agreed that it was.

Next he picked up a box of sand
and poured it into the jar.
The sand filled all the remaining space.
He again asked the class if the jar was full.
They agreed that it was.

Then the professor produced a bottle of beer
and poured it into the jar.
The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor,
"This jar represents your life.
The golf balls are the important things:
your spouse, your children,
your health, and your passion.
If everything else was lost
and only they remained,
your life woud still be full.

"The pebbles are other things that matter:
your job, your house, your car.

"The sand is the small stuff."

"If you put the sand in first," he continued,
"there will be no room for pebbles or golf balls.
The same goes for life.

"Take care of the golf balls first.
Be mindful of the pebbles.
The rest is just sand."

A student raised her hand
and asked about the beer.

The professor smiled and said,
"No matter how full your life is,
there's always room for beer."



Indicium Physicus
Staff member
Jan 26, 2012
I've heard the same story, but with an interesting twist: the professor first asked the students what the point of the demonstration was. They said that no matter how full the jar seems, you can always put more in. And he countered with what you posted here: you have to put the most important things in place first, or they won't make it into the jar.

Good one about beer.