I recently had dinner with dear friends and was told a story that has been shared by many people over the years. I was so impressed that my 92 year old friend remembered this story so well and began to realize the importance of it for all of us. This story is definitely a takeaway from company inspiration to giving life lessons to upcoming graduates. A gentle reminder for us all to put things into perspective and to prioritize what is essential.
The story goes like this;
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a large, empty mayonnaise jar and filled 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 it into the jar. He shook the jar lightly, and 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, 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 – God, family, children, health, friends, and favorite passions. Things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the things that matter, like your job, house, and car. The sand is everything else — the small stuff." he said. "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…" he told them.
Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Pray, spend time with your family, get medical checkups, have date nights with your spouse, and play another 18 holes of golf. There will always be time to do random jobs, so take care of the golf balls first - the things that really matter. Set your priorities, and the rest is just sand."
One of the students raised her hand and asked what the coffee represented. The professor smiled and said, "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."
My affirmation for you this week is:
"I will continue to prioritize my life with what is important first and will never sweat the small stuff."
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