Friday, July 17, 2009

Finding Balance, in an Unbalanced World

I love this story. I've seen it a few times, but most recently I was reminded of it when I read it on "Sally's World" blog the other day. Each time I read it, I am reminded to slow down and reflect on "what's really important" in my life.

If you get a chance, head over and say hello to Sally. She's home taking care of two children with the swine flu. She could use some "mom" support from her fellow bloggers.

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.

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."

How will you fill your jar?


  1. Beautiful post, off to make some tea. thanks

  2. That is a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  3. This was great. I will fill my jar with love and happy thoughts. Like a heart with a thought on it..

  4. I fill my jar with my family first, and because they are easiest to love, I have plenty more love to go around to others!! Thanks for this blog! It is great to visit and be inspired!

  5. What a beautiful story, thanks so much for sharing it!

  6. Love it, starred it in my reader, going to print it and share it! I love balance and am ever trying to achieve it. Thanks for creating this blog!