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the mayonnaise jar experiment


If you are like me, and work in "corporate" world, you become quite accustomed to e-mail forwards. Most of the time you probably delete them, and go about your day. However, I enjoy them...most of the time.

A friend of mine sent this to me in an e-mail yesterday, and thought I'd share it with you.


The Mayonnaise Jar Experiment

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle,
When 24 hours in a day is not enough;
remember the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class
and had some items in front of him.

When the class began, wordlessly,
he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar
and started to fill 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.
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 an unanimous 'yes.'

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table
and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively
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.

'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.
Play with your children.
Take time to get medical checkups.
Take your partner out to dinner.

There will always be time
to clean the house and fix the dripping tap.

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

One of the students raised her hand
and inquired what the coffee 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 room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.'

Please share this with other "Golf Balls"

I just did......

Lornette C. Drew-Prescott

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom:

and with all thy getting, get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

post circle 16 comments :

  1. I've heard this before at church etc. :) Love it. I like to think of it sometimes to remind me of what's really important.

  2. I have heard this before at church also and love it!! SO true. More people would be happier and less stressed in life if they took this and applied it!

  3. Ha! I've never heard this before- and it's so true! Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Aww! That's cute!

  5. WOW. I LOVE this! I will pass it on to my readers tomorrow and credit you of course :) Thanks for sharing!!

  6. Wow! I love this!!! I may share it too, if you don't mind! Thanks for sharing this!! :)

  7. I had not heard this before and I love it! Thank you so, so much for sharing that!!!

    Also, I recently was in Austin, but for a very quick trip that was very busy before my fiance headed to Peru for 7 weeks, so, I didn't have much free time, but I am mostly likely moving there soon and hope you and I can do our lunch meet up...would love to have a blog friend in the area!

    Hope you are having a Terrific Tuesday, Shalyn!!!

    Liesl :)

  8. i loved this...this was awesome and so true. sometimes the little things in life DO take over the big things! I think more people would be happier if they took this lil story to heart!

    love it

  9. I loved this ! Thank you so much for sharing ! Merci :)

  10. Thank you for sharing. I wish I had had a professor like that to inspire me. Love it!

  11. What a wise, wise professor! Really puts things into perspective!

  12. I really enjoyed reading that! Thanks for sharing ... I will have to share too!

  13. LOVED this! Thanks so much for sharing, Shalyn!


  14. I love this! I never get cool forwards like this!
    Mine are mostly dirty jokes...

    I'm glad you shared :)

    Sabrina Says

  15. Oh! I got this once and LOVED it! Thank you so much for sharing!!! Such a great lesson.