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The Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Bottles of Cold Beer

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posted on Sep, 6 2010 @ 06:55 AM
I'm not sure of the origin of this story, but it seems to be an american folk tale. Nonetheless, I find it to be a nice metaphor for life, although I'm sure there are similar stories, this one summed it up nicely.

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 asked the students again if the jar was now 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. 'Yes' was the reply.

The professor then produced two bottles of cold beer from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the grains 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 time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18 holes. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the shower. 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 cold beer 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 bottle of cold beer with a friend.'

Edit: As it's not really a copyrighted text, I'll leave out the bbcode for external texts, but here's the source if anyone's interested: The Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Bottles of Cold Beer

[edit on 6/9/10 by Droogie]

Added the ex tags anyway per request, and it seems like it didn't restrict the story to only three paragraphs after all.

[edit on 6/9/10 by Droogie]

posted on Sep, 6 2010 @ 07:03 AM
I haven't heard this in a while but thanks for refreshing my memory with it!

posted on Sep, 6 2010 @ 07:34 AM
reply to post by Three_moons

It's the first time I've read it, and I found it to point out things that can in certain periods in life be easily forgotten. When you're experiencing pressure from all kinds of directions, and reading a simple story like this, puts things in perspective and somewhat relieves the stress as well.

posted on Sep, 6 2010 @ 07:52 AM
S+F from me Droogie.

The story/example is a great analogy that represents life, some many people (including me) become wrapped up with the small things in life that they neglect what's really important.

I would never had said this only not so long ago but I think people need to be a little more selfish - they need to concentrate on themselves and put themselves first.

You can't love someone if you don't love yourself, get that in check firstly and then look at others around you.

Spend time with your wife/husband, kids, engage in your hobbies - whatever they may be.

Obviously, you can't let your house turn into a building site and not clean or do the washing up. But these things are not priorities, one's mental health is.

Lastly, there is definately always time for a cold beer with a friend. I can testify to that as my best friend has been brilliant with me during the past 7 days.

[edit on 6/9/10 by Death_Kron]

posted on Sep, 6 2010 @ 08:12 AM

Originally posted by Death_Kron
You can't love someone if you don't love yourself


I suppose that's true, it's something to ponder about at least.

posted on Sep, 6 2010 @ 08:15 AM
reply to post by Droogie

It's true mate, just like you can't help someone who doesn't or won't help themselves.

Like I said above, I never used to have this philosophy but I'm now firmly of the belief that before anything else, people need to get their # in check.

posted on Sep, 6 2010 @ 08:24 AM
Thanks for the story.It was very refreshing .It really is amazing how much you can miss just living your everyday life.

posted on Sep, 6 2010 @ 08:48 AM
reply to post by stillsearchin

I agree.

Taking things for granted is probably the biggest injustice a person can do to oneself.

posted on Sep, 7 2010 @ 06:57 AM

Originally posted by Death_Kron
reply to post by Droogie

It's true mate, just like you can't help someone who doesn't or won't help themselves.

This reminds me of a good friend that past away many years ago, though he wasn't able to help himself as you put it, I believe it was because of other factors he left this world. And by his own hands nonetheless.

The problem was that the people close to him didn't love him, therefore he wasn't able to love himself. At least his parents didn't give enough attention to him or his needs. Probably because they payed more attention to the "sand" than the "golf balls". And it goes to show how important it is for everyone to be aware of what the story in the OP tells about.

That's how it appears to me at least.

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