Every now and then, someone forwards me this email about life and how it relates to a jar. Even though I often skim email forwards, especially those of a political or otherwise controversial nature, I always happen to read this one.
I think that it’s a great explanation on how life works, and each time I read it, I get a little something else from it.
As you read it, take a moment to think about your priorities. My challenge to you today is to think about what fills up your jar. Which things in life are your golf balls and marbles? How about your sand and coffee?
(Untitled to my knowledge, Author Unknown to me)
On the first day of class, a university professor stood in front of his philosophy class with an empty jar.
Without saying a word to his students, he removed the lid of the jar and filled it with golf balls. When no more golf bars fit he closed the jar with its lid. He then asked his class, “Would you say that the jar is now full?” His students observed the jar and concluded that the jar was indeed full.
The professor then proceeded to open the jar up and started inserting marbles into the jar. The marbles started to fill the gaps between the golf balls. After sealing the jar, he asked his class once again if they thought the jar was now full. The class concluded that the jar was indeed now full.
The professor opened the jar a third time and started pouring in sand. Obviously, the sand started filling the gaps between the golf balls and the marbles. He then sealed the jar and asked his class a third time if the jar was full. His class chuckled and replied in unison, “Yes, it is now full!”
The professor opened the jar and emptied two small cups of coffee in the jar. The liquid had completely filled the gap between the golf balls, the marbles, and the grains of sand. He then began his lecture.
“I hope you realize that life is very much like this jar. The golf balls represent the important things in life, like God, family, loved ones, health, things that you care intimately about. If we lost everything else in life, our lives would still be ‘full’. The marbles are the other things in our lives that are important, but our happiness shouldn’t depend on them. Things like our work, our house, our car, etc. Finally, the sand represents everything else; the small stuff.
“If we were to have filled our jar up with sand first, there we wouldn’t have had enough room for the marbles or the golf balls. If we use all our life and energy on the small stuff, we won’t have any room for the important things.”
After a brief moment of silence one of the students asked, “Professor, what does the coffee represent?”
“Ah, I’m glad you asked,” replied the professor. “It means that no matter how full your life is, there is always room for a cup of coffee with a friend.”
What I Think
I think that the jar represents you (me), and the way we choose to fill it represents our life choices. Sometimes, when I read it, I recognize that maybe I’ve given golf ball space to something that should be marble or sand sized. At any rate, it always gives me something to think about.
What do you think? What are your golf-ball sized priorities? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.