Life in a jar – a story

A professor stood before his philosophy class and placed some items in front of him. When the class began he picked up a large empty jar and proceeded to fill it with stones. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of gravel chips and poured them into the jar, shaking the jar lightly; the gravel rolled into the open areas between the stones. He 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 the remaining spaces. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous ‘YES’.
The professor then produced two cups of coffee and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the grains of sand.
The students laughed. ‘Now’, said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘This jar represents your life. The stones are the important things: your family, your health, your friends, the things you feel passionate about. If everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.’
‘The gravel chips 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 gravel or the stones’.
‘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. Take care of the stones first – the things that really matter. The rest is just sand. The sand can polish the stones, but is not essential.’
One of the students asked what the coffee represented. The professor smiled and said ‘I’m glad you asked. The coffee shows that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a coffee with a friend.’

2 Responses to “Life in a jar – a story”

  1. Paul says:

    Brilliant! thats a pure gem – thank you 🙂

  2. Barbara says:

    Thanks for your comment Paul. I’m glad you liked the story; it’s even better when demonstrated.