Monday, November 3, 2014

Call It Ransom

An oft-told story I've just remembered that can stand being repeated.

A college professor placed a large glass jar on a work bench and, as his entire class watched, filled the jar with  rocks,all the way to the top. He asked them if the jar was full and the class agreed it was.

He opened a bag of pebbles and poured them down over the rocks in the jar and watched as they worked their way into all the spaces between the rocks and then asked his class again if the jar was full.
Again, they said 'yes'.

He reached under his table and pulled out a large chest, filled with sand and poured the sand atop the pebbles and the large rocks at a steady rate of speed. Slowly the sand covered all the pebbles and rocks, finding and filling the smallest openings all the way to the top of the jar. He asked his students if they believed the jar was really full this time and after some hesitation they decided that it was.

He turned his back to them long enough to reach into his knapsack and pull out two cans of beer and opening both, he poured them over the sand that covered the pebbles and the rocks that filled the jar and waited until the foam had settled. Looking up he asked the students what it all meant, and the room was silent.

You may know the answer already. They didn't

He explained the glass jar was a person's life.

The large rocks were the most important things in your life such as your family, your friends, your loved ones. They were the 'quality' in your quality of life without which there would be no point in living. He conceded the pebbles were important, but NOT the most important, things in your life, such as your car, your home, your job or where you shopped. And the sand was the useless but pretty filler so many of us confuse with the truly important things we most need.

The trick, said the professor was not to fill up your jar but to know with what to fill it, advising the jar could be completely filled with sand, leaving no room for anything else, and certainly none of what was really important. The same, he noted, could be said about filling your life with nice to have pebbles instead of need to have rocks.

After you've filled the jar with pebbles you'll never have enough room for all the rocks you treasure. Always, he said, fill your life with that which is most important to you, enjoying as much of it as you have  never regretting  the absence of what you do not.


What about the beer asked one of the student. What is its purpose? That, smiled the professor, is to illustrate that no matter how large or small your life is, there's always room for beer. 

And with that, the class bell rang and the students were dismissed.
-bill kenny

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