Fill the Empty Jar Intelligently…


When things in our lives seem, almost too much to handle, when twenty-four hours in a day is not enough, we need to remember the story of the empty jar and 2 cups of coffee.


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 jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He 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 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 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 our life.


“The golf balls are the important things — happiness, health, spirituality, family, children, friends and favorite passions — things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, our lives would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like our job, business, house and car. The sand is everything else — the small stuff, the non-essentials.


“If we put the sand into the jar first,” He continued, “there is no room for the golf balls or the pebbles. The same goes for life.


If we spend all our time and energy on the non-essentials, we will never have room for the things that are important for us.



“Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness and health both physical and psychological.


“Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Go on a holiday. Celebrate important occasions and so on.


“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 right. The rest is just ‘sand’.”


One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee 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 for a cup of coffee with a friend.”


In any business, what matters at the end of the day for the businessman is whether he has made profit or not. Similarly, in the business of living, what matters at the end of the day is whether we are happy or not.


Don’t compromise the “golf balls” for “sand”.

Don’t compromise your happiness and health by wasting time, effort and money on non-essentials.


Get your priorities right.

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4 thoughts on “Fill the Empty Jar Intelligently…

  1. Swadesh Babbar

    Hari Om Swamiji !

    Thanks for your teachings.


  2. Chitti Babu

    Very beautiful explanation for keeping our priorities in life right.

  3. Vimalchand Shrishrimal

    Pranam and Hari Om Respected Swamiji,
    excellent message to remember before we plan our daily activity in our life.
    Personal warm regards,
    Vimalchand Shrishrimal

  4. Mubareka

    Very true snd this is the best time 🙂

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