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Students Learn a Valuable Lesson With Teacher's Jar of Miscellaneous Objects

Life in a Jar Plus Two Beers


A professor standing in front of his class has several items in front of him. He wordlessly picks up a very large and empty mason jar and proceeds to fill it with golf balls. He then asks the students if they thought the jar was full and they respond with a resounding "yes."

The professor then picks up a box of pebbles, pours them in, and shakes the jar lightly. The pebbles roll into the open spaces between the golf balls. He asks the students if the jar is full and they agree it is.

The professor picks up a box of sand and proceeds to pour it into the jar, filling the remaining space. And once again asks the students if the jar is full, there's now a unanimous "Yes!"

Finally, the professor produces two bottles of beer from under the table and pours their entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laugh.

"Now," says the professor as the laughter subsides, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things — your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions — and 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, and your car. The sand represents 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 of your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. So pay attention to those things that are critical to your well-being: spending time with loved ones, taking care of your health, doing the things you love, etc. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

At this point one of the students raises her hand and asks, "What does the beer represent?"

The professor smiles and says, "I'm glad you asked. The beer just shows that no matter how full your life may be, there's always room for a couple of beers with a friend!!!"

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