Wednesday, September 16, 2009


© Chessie Roberts 2009 used on Blogspot by permission
One of my students asked me how to decide what is important in ones life and how should they prioritize everything they have to do. I told them about this experiment I saw in collage.

One of my professors came into class one day and announced that he was going to demonstrate one of the most important life lessons we would ever learn. He begin the class by wordlessly picking up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked us if the jar was full. We agreed that it was.

He then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar and shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked us again if the jar was full. We agreed it was.

He 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. Some of us thought it was.

He then produced a cup of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the grains of sand. We laughed..

'Now,' he said 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---and 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.

Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents (if you are still lucky enough to have them). 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. Our professor smiled and said, 'I'm glad you asked.' The coffee just shows you that no matter how
full your life may seem, there's always room for a cup of coffee with a friend.

I have seen this done in business coaching events several times since then and use it myself in some of my classes. I feel that is an excellent visual to keep in mine when we wonder where our balance should be. Bright Blessings Chessie

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