There is a popular  story about an important life lesson that a philosophy professor once taught his students.

As the professor entered the class he cleared his desk and placed on top of it a few items.

One of the items was an empty jar. He proceeded to fill up the jar with golf balls until he could fit no more. He looked at the classroom and asked his students if they agree that the jar is full.

Every student agreed that the jar was indeed full.

The teacher then picked up a box of small pebbles and poured them into the jar with the golf balls. The pebbles filled all of the openings in between the golf balls. He asked the students if the jar was full. Once again, they agreed.

Now the teacher picked up a bag of sand and poured it into the jar. The sand filled in all of the empty space left  between the golf balls and the pebbles. He asked the class again if the jar was full. The students agreed it was technically full.

Finally, the teacher pulled out two beers from under his desk and poured both of them into the jar filling the empty space between the sand. Now the students began to laugh, wondering how far this was going.

“I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life,” he started.

“The golf balls represent the important things. Your family,

children, health, friends, and passions. If everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.”

“The pebbles represent the other things in life that matter, such as your job, house and car.”

“The sand; that is everything else. The small stuff. If you put the sand in first, there is no room for the pebbles or golf balls. 

The same goes for life. If you spend all of your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are most important. Pay attention to the important things in your life.

 Enjoy time with family. Go to dinner with your spouse. Play games with your kids. There will always be time to clean the house or take yourself shopping.

 Take care of the golf balls first; the things that really matter. The rest is just sand. You are dismissed.”

Before the students left, one shouted out. “You never mentioned what the beer represents!”

The professor smiled and said, “Well I’m glad you asked. The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room to have a beer with a friend.”


If you like this article, it’s one of the articles in the Jan/Feb 2017 issue of eg Magazine, 114 pages of Entrepreneurs’ Tales, Tools & Tips. You can download the entire magazine here.
Colin’s sole purpose and reason for being is to help you to discover, define & deliver your BiG ideas! To that end he publishes eg Magazine, an online magazine that provides Entrepreneurs’ Tales, Tools & Tips and has written the GROWhow experience, a journey to  discover, define & deliver your BiG ideas! He lives in Norfolk, UK with his wife, 2 kids & 3 BiG ideas of his own. Connect with Colin for FREE gifts & bonuses by clicking here.