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A philosophy teacher was standing in front of his class. On the desk in front of him were a number of objects. When the lesson began, without saying a word, he picked up a large, empty maionese jar and started to fill it with golf balls. When he had finished, he asked the students if the jar was full and they all agreed that it was.
Then the teacher took a box of pebbles and tipped them into the jar, shaking it so that the pebbles slipped into the spaces between the golf balls. When he had finished, he once again asked the students if the jar was full and they all agreed that it was.
Next the teacher lifted up a bag of sand and poured it into the jar. Naturally enough, the sand filtered into the remaining spaces. Again the teacher asked the students if the jar was full, and again they replied with a unanimous ‘yes’.
“Now”, said the teacher as the laughter gradually died down, “I want you to imagine that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the fundamental things – your family, your children, your friends, your health, your favorite hobbies. If everything else disappeared and only these things remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are other important things – your job, your house, your car, your holidays and so on. The sand is all the rest – the smaller, less significant things in life.
“If you start off by filling the jar up with sand then there will be no space left for the pebbles and the golf balls, and that also applies to your life.
“If you use up all your time and energy on the smaller, less significant things in life, you’ll have nothing left for the things that really count.
“Think hard about what is really important for your happiness.
“Above all, take care of your golf balls – the things that really matter. Get your priorities right. The rest is just sand.”
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