Getting Your Priorities Straight

‘Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work’ HL Hunt

Everyone who knows me, has a theory about me that when I’m bored and having nothing really going on to occupy my crazy mind, I start to fret over stupid insignificant things. Like a comment someone has made to me off the cuff at work, or that fact that someone hasn’t texted me back (or worse, texted me back but not left a capital kiss!) When I find myself in this kind of mood, or (more accurately I told i’m in that kind of mood) i try and remember one of my favourite analogies:

Mayonnaise-Jar-2-Beers

A professor stood before his philosophy class with some items in front of him. When the class began, 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.

He then picked up a handful of pebbles and poured them into the jar. As 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.

He 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 Beers 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 family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions; 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 to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. 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 ask what the beer represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’ The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers with a friend.

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This really resonates with me because I think i always tend to stress way too much over the sand and then I don’t get to relax and pay attention to by golf balls.And I have some amazingly loving, fun and caring golf balls in my life, i would hate to find one day they don’t fit in my jar any more!

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