Setting Priorities

Traded some messages with @princessofVP today and she didn’t know this theory.. posted here for all to read. It’s about getting your priorities straight and in the right order.

A philosophy professor stood before his 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 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.

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 then picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes”.

The professor then produced two glass of water from under the table and proceeded to pour their 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 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 full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, 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 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 time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out strolling. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the tap. Take care of the rocks first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

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2 thoughts on “Setting Priorities”

  1. We had a version of this on the office wall, but at the end there was a cup of coffee left over, and when the professor was asked about that, he replied “there’s always time for a cup of coffee with a friend”.

  2. When I heard this tale, it was beer (not water) that was the last thing to be added to the glass. And the moral? No matter how full your life is, there’s always space for a glass of beer! 🙂

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