The golf ball theory of life

Golfer KNSK forwards a forward close to his heart: When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day is not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and two 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 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.

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. Ofcourse, 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.  Family, children, health, friends, and favourite 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, house, and 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.

“So. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another ound of golf. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawns.  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 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 couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”

6 Responses to “The golf ball theory of life”

  1. M.P.V. Shenoi Says:

    Enjoyed highly reading it. Thought provoking

  2. Ashok Says:

    The older avataar of this story had beer instead of coffee. The joke seems to have sobered up a little :-) !!

  3. The Wittering Quiters Corner - Come On In. - Page 38 Says:

    […] The golf ball theory of life churumuri Our friendly monkey just shared this with me and i really want you guys to read it to its lovely xx […]

  4. vsesh Says:

    Thanks for posting a very good Piece of writing. Right priorities always lead us to a life of contentment. Another thing of importance is to be noted here. A jar that is made up of glass represents life in the story. It goes with out saying that our life should also be transparent like glass. Other wise it may be a cloth bag, jute sac or bamboo basket. It can not but mix up things and make mess of every thing leading to disorder and discontent in life.

  5. angel91 Says:

    a very interesting piece of writing…truly remarkable..!!

  6. Girish Says:

    very nice.. Thanks a lot for posting this.

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