The Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Cups of Coffee

So, in today’s day and time, with everything going on in the world, we need to always make an effort to think positive and see the good things around us. One day I ran across a story that not only made me stop and think but also touched me on a personal level. It was a simple story of a professor with a mayonnaise jar and two cups of coffee. Although no one has been able to determine the origin of this simple store, some have said that it was written by a writer named Mary Lynn Plaisance; However, it turns out she isn’t the author. While we may never be able to confirm who wrote this inspiring tale or if it even happened in real life, the lesson it relays can be invaluable and take us through the tough curve balls this world can throw at us and show us that the most important thing in life is not material at all but time itself. We need to always remember to take TIME for our personal Mayonnaise Jar and Two Cups of Coffee.

You can read this inspiring story in its entirety below:

The Mayonnaise 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 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.  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 your life.

“The golf balls are the important things — your God, family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite 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, 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 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. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. 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.  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.”

TrendHR Marketing Dept 2019

Published by D.W. Bobst

Owner & CEO of

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