A teacher, before the beginning of his philosophy lesson, put a few objects in front of him, upon the desk. Without saying a word, when the lesson began, he took a big empty mayonnaise jar and he filled it up with golf balls. He then asked to his students if the jar was full, and they said it was.
The teacher then spilled in the jar a box of pebbles, mildly shaking it. The pebbles filled up the space between the balls. He then asked again to his students if the jar was full, and they said it was.
Then the teacher spilled inside the jar a box of sand. Naturally, the sand filled up all the empty spaces. He then asked once again to his students if the jar was full, and they all said unanimously it was.
The teacher took out from beneath his desk two glasses of red wine, and he spilled them inside the jar, filling up all the empty spaces beneath the grains of sand. The students laughed!
«Now», said the teacher when the laughter was over, «I wish you’d considerate this jar your life. Golf balls are the most important things; your family, your children, your health, your friends and the things you like the most; the things that, even if everything else is lost, will still fill up your existence».
«The pebbles are the other things that count, like your job, your home, your car. The sand is all the rest, the little things».
«If you spill the sand first in the jar», he continued, «there wouldn’t be space left for the pebbles and the balls. Same happens for your lives. If you use all your time and your energies for the little things, you will never be able to spend enough time with the things that are really important».
«Take care of the things that are fundamental for your happiness. Play with your children, watch your health carefully. Take your partner out for dinner. Play another 18 holes. Do another slide on your skies! There’s always time to fix up your home and to throw away the trash. Dedicate yourselves to the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Define your priorities, all the rest is just sand».
A student raised her hand and asked what did the wine mean. The teacher smiled. «I’m happy you asked me about it. It was just to prove that no matter how full the life can seem: there is always some space for a couple glasses of wine with a friend».