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The Mayonnaise Jar of Life

I'm sure many of you have heard the story of The Mayonnaise Jar before. Whether you have or you haven't, it's a great reminder to live your life to the fullest, to always remember what's most important to you, and to make time for the little pleasures of life that mean so much.

Want to hear the story? Then

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 family, your children, your health, your beliefs, 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. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the garbage 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."


Join The Conversation
jennjennnbubba jennjennnbubba 9 years
umm ok so we all know that marcella puts her sand in first!!! :nerdgirl: love the story. i have heard it before but its always great to hear again just to put you back into place.
marcella marcella 9 years
I am so sure a "professor" lectured this in class. It's a totally lame fable that appeals to the lowest common denominator. I think I actually lost some IQ points by reading this moronic story.
Neural Neural 9 years
Never heard this story but I like it. Thanks for sharing!
Hibalicious Hibalicious 9 years
that is such a great sotry and its so true!! Love it. God, I wish that professor taught me lol. Thanks a lot Dear!
pink_magnetism pink_magnetism 9 years
think, not thinhk! I think it's time for me to log off now,lol!
pink_magnetism pink_magnetism 9 years
I haven't heard it before, but it's great. Definately something to thinhk about :)
Twinkle1 Twinkle1 9 years
Love it!
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 9 years
Ooh, this is a great anecdote ... love it!
mrspiven mrspiven 9 years
that's a great story, and so true.
Ohno-You-did-NOT Ohno-You-did-NOT 9 years
I too never heard this story, so cute and a great reminder!
brookrene brookrene 9 years
never heard ths before, it's great. thanks!
nicachica nicachica 9 years
what a great story Dear. Just another reminder why i love this part of the Sugar network so much!
windynini windynini 9 years
I know I had heard this story before, but its really nice of you to remind us Dear. Thanx.:)
OutOfSpaceGirl OutOfSpaceGirl 9 years
So cool!!! Loved it!
Muirnea Muirnea 9 years
I've never heard that story before! Thats awesome!! I love it! :)
Jennifer777 Jennifer777 9 years
This is one of my favorite stories!!!
cassandry cassandry 9 years
I've never heard/read this before. Thanks for posting it!
leigha926 leigha926 9 years
i love it.
demonkitty18 demonkitty18 9 years
I have never heard this one before, but it's definetly a great reminder of what's really important in life.
xtinabeena xtinabeena 9 years
this is great!
RiceGirlReese RiceGirlReese 9 years
Great story, never heard it before.
ALSW ALSW 9 years
I've never heard that before. I love it!
Le-Luxe Le-Luxe 9 years
Love it!
kendalheart kendalheart 9 years
I have heard this story and I do think it's a great reminder! Thanks dear
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