In a recent email to subscribers, I began a new series of articles with the metaphor that follows. Because so many people asked questions, I will ask that you first read the story below. Questions, and my thoughts will follow…
The Mayo Jar
When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar… and the juice…
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items 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 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 with a unanimous “yes.”
The professor then produced two cups of juice 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-your God, family, your 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.”
Now here’s the really important part…
“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. Devote time to family and friends. Slow down to take a walk, and invest your time in what you really value. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner 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 her hand and inquired what the juice 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 to share a cup of juice with your child.”
With that in mind, I move into this new series of emails to help all of us stay focused on what we truly value, while mastering the tools that allow us to joyfully experience the daily movement toward our goals, and the fulfillment of the vision of our lives.
You will be exposed to tools that allow you to create the kind of life you want for yourself, and for your family. You will learn how to choose goals, how to maintain your focus, and how to shape your own and your children’s behavior.
More importantly, you will discover ways to make certain your most important values are infused in your daily life. In other words, this is a series designed to get you motivated, focused and “walking your talk!” If you haven’t yet signed up for my email newsletter, please do so at www.TerrificParenting.com.
This story generated many responses from my subscribers. Please see their questions, and my thoughts below over the days ahead.