On the first day of class, a university professor stood in front of his MBA class with an empty jug.
Without saying a word to his students, he started to fill the jug with golf balls. When no more golf balls would fit, he passed the jug to the class and asked, “Would you say that the jug is full?” His students looked at the jug and agreed that the jug was indeed full.
The professor then took the jug back and proceeded to place marbles into the jug. The marbles started to fill the gaps between the golf balls. After carefully ensuring that every gap between the golf balls was taken, he passed the jug to the class and asked once again if they thought the jug was full. The class conferred and the general consensus was that the jug was full.
The professor took the jug back a third time and started to pour in fine sand. Obviously the sand stated to fill the gaps between the golf balls and the marbles. Once the sand had reached the top of the jug he asked the class a third time whether the jug was full. This time his class chuckled and replied in unison, “took the jug back a third time and started to pour in fine sand. Obviously the sand stated to fill the gaps between the golf balls and the marbles. Once the sand had reached the top of the jug he asked the class a third time whether the jug was full. This time his class chuckled and replied in unison, “Yes, it is now full!”
The professor took the jug back and emptied two small cups of coffee into the jug. The liquid completely filled any remaining gap between the golf balls, the marbles and the grains of sand. He then commenced his lecture.
He started with a question and asked the class what the filling the jug with golf balls, marbles, sand and coffee demonstrated. One bright spark at the front of the class shouted out “It shows that no matter how full you think your schedule is you can always get a little bit more in.
The professor slowly shook his head, saying,
“I hope you realise that life is very much like this jug. The golf balls represent the important things in life like beliefs, loved ones, family, health, things that you care intimately about. If we lost everything else in life, our lives would still be ‘full’. The marbles are the other things in our lives that are important, but our happiness doesn’t depend upon them. Things like our work, our house, our car etc. Finally, the sand represents everything else; the small stuff”.
“If we were to have filled our jug up with sand first, we would not have had enough room for the marbles or the golf balls. If we use all our life and energy on the small stuff, we won’t have any room for the important things.”
After a brief moment of silence one of the students asked, “Professor, what does the coffee represent?”
“Ah, I’m glad you asked.” replied the professor. “It means that no matter how full your life is there is always room for a cup of coffee with a friend.”