A jar of golf balls and two cups of coffee


A jar of golf balls and two cups of coffee

22 Oct ’12 #Success Inspire Reflections 0

Paul Benson dropped me a very kind tweet and email to say thank you for the CI Writing page. The Challenge and Inspire page is collection of stories, an odd mix of coaching, philosophy and life fables I have bumped into or read on my teaching career.

I just read through your Challenge & Inspire examples and thought it would be a good idea to forward a message I received from my niece today.

Paul, I am confident that the story will come in handy in my new leadership role and hopefully one of two colleagues will enjoy it too. Thank you. (I have switched the beers for coffee).

 A jar of golf balls and two cups of coffee

When things in your lives seem  too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and two 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 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 all the open spaces in the jar. He asked once more if the jar was full? The students  responded with a 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 granules of 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 favorite  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 the time to get medical  check-ups. 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 their 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 cups of coffee with a friend.”

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