A philosophy professor stood
before his class with some items on the table in front of him.
When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and
empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, about 2
inches in diameter.
He then asked the students if the
jar was full. They agreed that it was.
So the professor then picked up a
box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar
lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas
between the rocks.
He then asked the students again
if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor picked up a box of
sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up
He then asked once more if the jar
was full. The students responded with a unanimous
"Now," said the professor, "I want
you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks
are the important things - your family, your partner, your
health, your children - things that if everything else was lost
and only they remained, your life would still be
The pebbles are the other things
that matter - like your job, your house, your
The sand is everything else. The
"If you put the sand into the jar
first," he continued "there is no room for the pebbles or the
rocks. The same goes for your 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 your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to
work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the
Take care of the rocks first - the
things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just
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