Thank you, Dr. Ed Yager (a good friend in San Diego, CA), for reminding me what’s important in life by sending me this e-mail today! Things seem to come to us when we need them most, and this one certainly has touched me today.
I wish I could give credit to the original author, but the only reference I could find for this story is an article in the Napa Valley Register on November 16, 2007 by Jack Heeger, who cites the story as one “… that has made the rounds of the Internet lately”.
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 glasses of wine:
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 glasses of wine 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: 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 holes. Do one more run down the ski slope. 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 wine 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 glasses of wine with a friend.”
May your life be always full of the wonders of family, friends and rich memory-making events – with time enough for the small stuff rather than full of small stuff with no time for the important things!
This was originally posted in January 2008. I am grateful to have known Ed and his wife Gwen for many years. Ed lost his battle with cancer in 2018. He never retired, and was a great friend to the end. He was not only a great friend, but a mentor to my hypnotherapy skills.