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Martha, an avid motorcycle enthusiast, gave a TED talk. Her husband Art helped her. She began by filling a large jar with golf balls.
“Is this jar full?” she asked.
“Yes,” Art answered.
Martha then poured pebbled into the jar. The pebbles found the empty spaces between the golf balls. Martha asked, “Is the jar full?”
Art answered, “Yes, it is.”
Martha picked up a container of sand and poured it into the jar. Naturally, the sand filled the spaces left by the pebbles. And again, Martha asked, “Is the jar full?”
“Yes, of course it is.”
Then Martha poured two cans of beer into the jar. She looked straight into the camera and spoke, “The jar represents your life. The golf balls are the really important things: your family and friends, your health, your passions. If you lost everything else, you life would still be full. The pebbles are other things that matter, but matter less—things like your house, your motorcycle, your job. The sand is everything else, the small stuff.”
She continued, “If you fill the jar with sand first, you have no room for pebbles and certainly no room for golf balls. In life, if you spend all your money, time, and energy on the small stuff, you’ll have nothing left for what really matters to you. So I urge you to pay attention to the things that really matter. Go to your boy’s softball game. Take your spouse to dinner and a movie. Get your annual physical. Take a day off to go ride your motorcycle down some scenic byroad. Be sure you have your priorities straight. If you take care of the golf balls and then the pebbles, the sand will take care of itself. There will always be time to clean house or mow the lawn.
Art asked, “That’s so true, but what’s the beer for?”
Martha answered, “No matter how full your life may seem to be, there’s always room for a couple of beers.”