Off-Topic: A Mayonnaise Jar & Two Beers

By Adam Pick on April 22, 2009

Every once-in-a-while I receive a forwarded email that resets my focus on life.

Earlier today, my sister, Monica, sent me an email titled, “A Mayonnaise Jar & Two Beers”. Given the nature of this website, I found the fundamental message of this story to be very appropriate for those dealing with the stress of heart valve surgery.

So, without further ado, I offer you “A Mayonnaise Jar & Two Beers”:

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the two beers.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.

When the class began, he wordlessly 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 beers 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 family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—and 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 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.”

”Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.”

“Spend time with your children.”

“Spend time with your parents.”

“Visit with grandparents.”

“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 beer represented.

The professor smiled and said, “I’m glad you asked.”

“The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers with a friend.” 🙂

Regardless of where you are in the heart surgery process, I hope this story helps you.

Keep on tickin!
Adam


Written by Adam Pick
- Patient & Website Founder

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded HeartValveSurgery.com to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and Medical News Today.

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded HeartValveSurgery.com to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and Medical News Today.


Alex says on April 24th, 2009 at 9:21 am

Hi Adam,
11 months on from AVR & CABG. Everything going in the right direction, life is good and ticking marvellously.
What can I say to your tale of the golf balls? Pure philosophy! Socrates and Plato could not have put it better. Wisdom at its best. I am afraid I just cried. Tears of joy, of course. A great story for the dinner table.
Best wishes from UK.


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