The Jar of Life

The Jar of Life

When things in your life seem to have got out of control, when all the hours in a day are just not enough, remember this story:

A professor stood before his philosophy class with a few items in front of him. When the class began, he picked up a very large empty Jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the Jar was full. They agreed that it was. So 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 unanimous “yes.”

The professor then produced two cups of tea 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: family, children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions 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, 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. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. 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 tea represented. The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how busy your life is, there’s always room for a couple of cups of tea with your loved ones.”

A great story demonstrating the importance of getting our priorities right in life !

The original author is unknown but I thank them for their inspiration


18 Responses to “The Jar of Life”
  1. Beautiful story priya
    loved every bit of it
    Dr Pooja

  2. Minakshi Karan says:

    True that it is those golf balls only which stands with you in every circumstance. Through my present, I can feel this Priya.. Just lovely.. And strength giving as well.

    Thanks ..


  3. Marissa says:

    Thank you for sharing this story… 🙂 I am very happy to have read it right now, at this moment. ❤

  4. Jose Pita says:

    Great story 🙂 my daughter Gabriella recently turned 1, and everyday she makes sure I don’t fill my jar with sand first 🙂

  5. Josephine A. says:

    I’ve heard this story a very long time ago. Probably when I was a kid. It’s amazing to know how a story could be widely spread around the world. I just turned 22 last week. How heartwarming it is to read this story again. Thank you, Priya.

    Love from Indonesia,


  6. chas lyng says:

    Very good story,yes it can relate to ones life in you mentioned..thank you,your writing s are truly special.

  7. hari says:

    Nice Story,I had read before but forgotten what was what , now I know.

  8. Dances With Crayons says:

    Just a little note to let you know I came by with a cup of coffee to visit for a wee while, and listen to a couple of stories.
    Thankyou so much for sharing inspiration Priya!

  9. bhairavi says:


  10. zulfiqar says:

    nice story priya…teaches one alot:) kp up d gud work:)

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  1. […] you to my lovely friend Priya Sher for this lovely story posted on her blog. GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

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