The Pebble Jar


The Pebble Jar (Source Unknown)

When things in your life are getting on top of you, and you are feeling that it’s all getting too much to handle – remind yourself about the pebble jar…

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

When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large empty jar and started to fill it up to the top with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full? They all agreed that yes it was.

The professor then picked up a bag of small pebbles and poured them into the jar of golf balls, he gently shook the jar and the pebbles rolled into the spaces between the golf balls. He asked the students if the jar was full? Again, they all said yes it was.

Next he picked up a bag of sand and tipped it into the jar – and of course the sand just filled up all the gaps between the golf balls and the pebbles. Once more he asked the students if the jar was full? By now, the students were all certain the jar was full.

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar – where it disappeared into the sandy spaces.

The students burst out laughing. When the laughter quietened down, the professor said to them:

“Now I want you to recognise that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things such as your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favourite passions. If all else was lost, and only they remained – your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter – like your work, where you live, and your possessions.

The sand represents everything else – the small stuff!

If you put sand into the jar first – 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. So pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Take time to look after yourself, your health and wellbeing; and the people you care about. Spend time with your friends, partner or children.

Take care of the golf balls first, they are the things that really matter – your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One student raised her hand and asked what the coffee represented – the professor smiled and said: “I’m glad you asked me that – it just goes to show that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”