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Off topic: The Mayonnaise Jar and Two Cups of Coffee
Thread poster: Rahi Moosavi

Rahi Moosavi  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:55
Partial member (2004)
Farsi (Persian) to English
+ ...
May 25, 2006

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 his students if the jar was full. They agreed 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 in 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, your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite things - 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 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 the golf balls. The same goes for your life. If you spend 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 spouse 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."

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Gianni Pastore  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:55
Member (2007)
English to Italian
How true May 25, 2006

Thanx for sharing it!

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Erik Hansson  Identity Verified
Member (2002)
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Thanks a lot, Rahi May 25, 2006

Thanks a lot for this short story, Rahi.

I heard a similar story a while ago, just that the coffee was replaced by two pints of beer. No matter if you prefer coffee or beer (or maybe tea, white wine or whiskey), the thought behind the story is still the same.


Erik Hansson ( SFÖ )
Technical translator DE-SV
Hansson Übersetzungen GmbH
Am Birkenwäldchen 38
D-01900 Bretnig-Hauswalde, Germany
Phone +49 - 3 59 52 - 321 07
Fax +49 - 3 59 52 - 322 02
ProZ profile

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Katrin Lueke  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:55
Member (2006)
English to German
Thank you, Rahi May 25, 2006

Thank you very much for this!


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texjax DDS PhD  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:55
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
coffee May 26, 2006

I loved it!

sometimes we tend to forget what life is all about...

thank you for sharing.

cheers to you


PS: coffee for me!

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Claudia Aguero  Identity Verified
Costa Rica
Local time: 07:55
Spanish to English
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Thanks for remembering what life is for! May 26, 2006

Thanks for remembering there are other things BESIDES working in front of a PC, especially for those of us who are workaholics, and spend more than 18 hours a day working, and working, and working...7/365!!!

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United States
Local time: 08:55
English to Russian
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Thank you!!!!! May 26, 2006

Rahi Moosavi wrote:
There will always be time to clean the house

You saved my consiousness, just don't knock on my door for a couple more days:-)

Seriousely, Rahi, thank you so much, it was a true pleasure to read your post.

May I suggest a recipe for workaholics? I am one! It's breakaway breaks. I take all I can handle and a bit more:-) when I'm on a working spree, but to keep my sanity and health I now take my breaks out of town or out of country only, at least 1 week in 3 months. No laptop, "Unavailable" message to the clients 3 weeks in advance, no books, no TV. Fishing or browsing Uffizi - anything goes:-). Life is beautiful! "A bit more" earned over few sleepless nights covers for financial trouble, I call it "my off-budget funds" and the hell will freeze over before I spend it on house cleaning supplies:-). I have friends all over the world, gotta see them!

My sincere respect,

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