"Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you," said the wisest of wise men. "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon."



('The Alchemist' Paulo Coelho)




Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Cups of Coffee

This little gem is not from my usual source, TK but from a fellow counselling student, CM. Enjoy.

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded 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 them 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--your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favourite 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 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 spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. 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."

5 comments:

  1. Hi Jenny.

    What a fantastic analogy to life, made me think. - Priceless.

    Regards. - Mick.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What I want to know is what happened to this mayonnaise jar? Did the wise professor leave it in the lecture hall for the poor cleaners to tidy up? Did he retrieve his golfballs from the jar and if so where did he wash and dry them? And where did this lesson fit in the overall scheme of the Philosophy syllabus or was he just a maverick professor who filled time with little stories about sand and golfballs and such? Did he write Patience Strong greeting cards in his spare time?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yorkshire Pudding7/28/2006 03:29:00 pm

    Typical teacher? Jeez, I'm not that bloody miserable am I?
    Car Sticker:-
    "Teachers do it in academic gowns with sticks of chalk in their hands!"

    ReplyDelete
  4. No, of course not. YP. It was a tongue in cheek remark. :)

    ReplyDelete

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