Prioritise the things in your life

Just before I set up my philosophy blog, I was enlightened by a fantastic bit of philosophy. I thought it was so good that I posted it out of place on my technology blog, you can find it by going to my A Bit of Philosophy article.

Now that I have a philosophy blog, I thought that it was only appropriate to re-post the article here. The article went a bit like this…

“A professor stood before his philosophy class with some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up an empty jar and started to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly and the pebbles rolled into the open areas between golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed that 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 yet again if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes”.

The professor then produced a cup of tea from under the table and poured it into the jar, filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

Food For Thought “Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the things most important to you – your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favourite 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, 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. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out. Have fun with friends etc. There will always be time to clean the house, and fix the car.

Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities right. The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised there hand and inquired what the tea 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 time for a cup of tea!”

So there you have it, prioritise for your golf balls, they are the most important, also dedicate some time to your pebbles, and finally look after your sand, but if you loose some sand you are still full, and can easily gain it back – unlike golf balls which are much harder to attain!

Thanks for reading, I hope I have given you some food for thought.

Good luck looking after your golf balls!”

So, as I am sure you can see, it really was a very worthwhile bit of philosophy!

3 Responses

  • Though I can imagine, I would love to see what this jar looks like now after all that stuffing? In life, there are very few things worth holding by us and mixing them with trivial is a messy way to begin with. What do you say?
    – Do you like to read my last post? http://www.willtoknow.com/the-oracle-of-delphi/

    • “I would love to see what this jar looks like now after all that stuffing?” – Me too Joy!

      I see what you mean by saying don’t mix trivial things with things worth holding onto, but what I think the story is really trying to get at is that they are all in you, and in their own individual right, are all important. If you are just full of golf balls, you are sort of full, but not 100%. I understand your point though Joy.

      Thanks for the comment 🙂

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