A philosophy professor stood before his class with some
items on the table in front of him. When the class began,
wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise
jar and proceeded to fill it …with rocks, about 2 inches in
He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that
So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured
them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of
course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.
He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They
agreed it was.
The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the
jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students
responded with a unanimous “Yes.”
“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this
jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things –
your family, your partner, your health, your children –
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, 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 rocks. The same goes for your
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,give lots of love and respect to your
partner. There will always be time to go to work, clean the
house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.
Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set
your priorities. The rest is just sand.”