Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mayonnaise and Coffee

Sounds yummy, right?

Yeah, not so much. This is actually a parable of sorts that a writer friend sent out last week. I love the story here, especially since I read it the day after having coffee with my friend Casey (skinny latte, hold the mayo, thanks). Rather than tuck it away somewhere, I thought I'd post it here for others to see and as a permanent place for me to find it as well.



A professor stood before his philosophy class with some items in front of him. When the class began, he picked up a very large, 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.

So 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 – 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.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children! Take time to get medical checkups. Take your wife/husband/lover/friend out to dinner. Maybe even play another 18. There is always 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. The professor smiled.

“I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there is always room for a couple cups of coffee with a friend.”


Laura Pauling said...

I've heard this analogy before and it's a good one! The coffee is a new addition to the story though. I like it.

Stina said...

I love this! I had to laugh at the coffee part.

Now I don't feel guilty for not cleaning my house every day, and for spending more time on my writing. :D

Sherrie Petersen said...

Laura: I like the coffee, too. I'll take any excuse :)

Stina: In my humble opinion, people who clean the house every day need to find better hobbies!!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

ooooo, I like that. I need to take more time to smell the coffee and sit with a friend. :) It's amazing how we can get things out of balance.

Marcia said...

I've heard this before, but not the coffee part, which is a very cool thought to take away. And we all need the reminder now and then, because it's just too easy to start paying too much attention to that sand again.

Kristan said...

Love it! I've heard a similar parable, but not in a long time, and this dovetails nicely with some "soul-searching" I happened to be doing recently. Thanks for sharing. :)

Jaxson corey said...
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