The Mayonnaise Jar Lesson

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

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 fills it with golf ballsHe 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 it 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 coffee 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 – God, family,
children, health, friends, and favorite passions. Things, that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the things that matter like your job, house, and car. The sand is everything else — the small stuff.” he said.

“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…” he told them.

“So… pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Worship with your family. Play with your children. Take your partner out to dinner. Spend time with good friends. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the dripping tap. 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 coffee represented.

The professor said, “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 cup of coffee with a friend.”

Ya Haqq!

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4 Responses to The Mayonnaise Jar Lesson

  1. Mohammed Obeid says:

    Wonderful Article!!!
    Coffee with a friend. Hahaha
    Thanks for sharing Mr. Karchmar. :)

  2. Irving says:

    Thank you for the comment, Brother Mohammed :) The article has been around for years, but it is indeed a good reminder :)

    Ya Haqq!

  3. farheen says:

    Thanks for such a beautiful lesson. day by day people r becoming materialistic, no value for relations.

  4. Stranger says:

    Dear Irving, You are hope on a Cold, Cold morning!
    Made me Smile. :)))

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