The important things in life | Motivational Stories
≡ Menu

The important things in life

A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items on the table 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 rocks, about 2 inches in diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up the remaining open areas of the jar.

He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “Yes.”

“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – 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, 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 rocks. The same goes for your 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 your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party, or fix the disposal.”

“Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

Author Unknown

{ 691 comments… add one }
  • Fantastic August 22, 2010, 8:31 am

    It’s just mind blowing.

  • Gayathri August 17, 2010, 9:00 am

    Superb.. I think it is the definition for life.

  • Ermias August 10, 2010, 3:26 pm

    A very inspiring story, it taught us what to do in life.

  • C2 August 9, 2010, 5:08 am

    Yes it is a very good story infact, especially those people who don’t see the other side of life. Now a days everyone busy with their work and their problems, but remember one thing we create our own problems and wait for the solutions. But everyone fails to get the solutions for their own problems.

  • Anushree August 7, 2010, 9:01 am

    Art is life; life is short…

  • Easha August 6, 2010, 1:09 am

    It’s a nice moral…..without our family we can’t be happy in our life.

  • Andy July 21, 2010, 6:31 am

    Really nice story.

    Just not so much on how you handle the flack and intimidation you get when you leave out some of the small stuff. There’s a lot more pressure from the small stuff and its just abit too easy to say just leave it, without giving advice on how to handle the results of leaving it.

  • Vikram July 17, 2010, 1:57 am

    Really Nice Story & Moral

  • Vikram July 17, 2010, 1:59 am

    It’s a best story whichever I read as far as I know, it’s best for me…moral of this story is good & for everyone to set their priorities…and pay attention to the their families & important things….

  • Indrajeet July 7, 2010, 2:04 pm

    Awesome story….

  • Nguyen Thu July 6, 2010, 8:46 pm

    It’s a great story. We should look back what we did for our family, friends, partner …. I myself can learn a lot after reading it. We should appreciate what we have now.

  • Sin July 6, 2010, 3:44 am

    Really a good way to understand the arrangments acc to values.

  • Sarwat July 4, 2010, 3:48 am

    Waww I enjoy every word while reading it .. waw waw waw

  • Preethi July 1, 2010, 8:14 am

    It is a good and great moral story. By reading this story, I decided to do heavy things for my family.

  • Hari balaji June 29, 2010, 10:31 am

    Suberbbbb… no words to describe, Excellent

  • Anurudhya June 25, 2010, 9:02 am

    Really a very nice story and very good attitude.

  • Tanushree Biswas June 25, 2010, 12:56 am

    Great and touching story telling the priorities of life.

  • Tamil Selvan June 25, 2010, 12:31 am

    Good Story. Everyone is not easily getting small stuff (sand), after getting we miss rocks & pebbles so give first priority family and Children

  • Jude June 24, 2010, 11:44 am

    Love this site. I’ve learned a lot.

  • Sreekumar June 21, 2010, 4:17 pm

    Very good moral story 🙂

  • Honey May 31, 2010, 9:36 am

    Extremely its a wonderful story for everyone in this world…. any person will change their attitude after reading this story!!!

  • Chandrashekhar n Chintalwar May 28, 2010, 3:20 am

    Now I realized I always give importance to not necessary .
    Now I know what is important.

    Human being always run towards his desire but he forget his loved ones……….

  • Kavya May 5, 2010, 5:09 am

    I’m really touched by this story. Now I’ll give more time 2 my family than anything else!!

    Thanx very much.

  • Prakash May 1, 2010, 2:22 am

    100% True. Good one

  • Salman April 26, 2010, 4:43 am

    Good Story.It tells about the life.What are the important thing and usefull things in life.

  • Kevin April 25, 2010, 4:03 am

    Nice story. It gives a family orientated bias, which when adopted is the motivation to achieve more for those closest to us. The pebbles and sand are a distant second…

  • Manish Srivastava April 21, 2010, 4:02 am

    Today I realised that what should be planned first. It still depends on a person what he puts as Rocks and what as sand. After reading this blog I awaked and realised that for me Rocks are my mother Father. Pebbels are my wife and Children. Sand are my lust towards House, Car etc. & Savings will be the water which can even be accomodated by the filled Jar with Rocks, Pebbels and Sand.

  • MYOVELA JULIUS April 21, 2010, 3:12 am

    Yeah . . . . this story is deeply great, deeply touching and also it give us a good lesson . . thanx.

  • Ahuja April 17, 2010, 8:33 am

    Basically we know that but this story easily understand to us importants our relations.

  • Saa April 9, 2010, 8:21 am

    Thanks for ur sharing…
    Juz one word to describe “SPLENDID”… =)

  • ANKIT April 5, 2010, 11:44 pm


  • University Student April 4, 2010, 12:49 pm

    This is the best moral story and I learned what value or importance should family be given. I must say…… it’s not only good but also the best.

  • Primary Sstudent 2010 March 29, 2010, 6:39 am

    Actually, this is a very common story. I’ve read it many times on various books. There’s another story which is similar.

    In the story, a master had a very proud student. In order to teach his student a lesson, he filled a tank with rocks, pebbles, sand and water. Each time asking his student if the tank is full. The student, of course, kept saying it is full. What the master was demonstrating is that there is always something to learn and that there is unlimited knowledge. He should not be so proud as to think he knew everything.

  • Tashu March 11, 2010, 9:16 am

    The story is really very good.

  • Mufa March 11, 2010, 1:34 am

    This story also fits for time management those who always queues of no time, there is ample of time if u adjust it accordingly.

  • Nandish March 2, 2010, 3:16 pm

    Yes, I do agree the important things in life are our family and loved ones.. But not to forget that the small things which is referred to as sand is so equally important that is what makes us happy. We need to enjoy the small things in life before running behind the big things.. We should not loose the small happiness and by the time we realize this it would be too late we become old..

  • Saathira February 26, 2010, 4:41 am

    I think it’s a very lovely story!!! Really touching!!!!!

  • Nupur February 15, 2010, 2:10 am

    really it’s very helpful to understand the priorities of life

  • Sowmya Nyam February 6, 2010, 4:06 pm

    It’s pathetic…

  • Purva February 6, 2010, 9:55 am

    The story was really great. It is very touching and true. I feel we must always support our family first, and this story proves it. Thank you very much.

  • Kapil January 21, 2010, 8:58 am

    Excellent Work, the story in the starting made me thought about the moral that their is always a scope for learning however intelligent you are but in last lines the writer explains about priorities was unexpected very few are able to reach here. GOOD JOB

  • Moses.I January 19, 2010, 12:45 pm

    Gud story. Gud lesson for everyone. Thanks on behalf of others also.

  • Azmanctm January 17, 2010, 9:15 pm

    The power of simplicity – that is what the story demonstrates. If I may add my two cents worth… the story underlines the need to give priority to the IMPORTANT over the URGENT. Once the Important is in place, we can attend to the Urgent. If we fail to do that, we become perpetual slaves to the great tyrant called Urgent.

  • juju January 11, 2010, 8:03 pm

    wow i never thought of life that way… every small thing is just dirt.

  • Sidhartha December 30, 2009, 11:41 pm

    Nice one. Really heart touching.

  • Tauseef December 22, 2009, 5:34 am

    A good one! I think engaging your lifetime largely with rocks, to a good extent with pebbles and to a small extent with sand is a good formula of lifetime happiness.

  • Grace December 9, 2009, 5:19 am

    Really interesting, touching and worthy story for all. I like it very much.

  • Deepu December 8, 2009, 9:00 pm

    Wonderful story!!!!

  • Praveen November 26, 2009, 1:25 am

    It’s true that family matters a lot & it was a touching story.

  • R.Manivannan November 6, 2009, 4:21 am

    Short and sweet moral story

  • Sanjay Parmar October 26, 2009, 2:49 am

    Thanks. It is a very nice and beautiful story.

  • SONALI October 4, 2009, 10:43 am


    It’s a very nice story, full of moral values!

  • Kokulan October 1, 2009, 12:28 pm

    This is one of the greatest motivational stories I have ever read. Although I have been using a lot of motivational books and audios, the story really given me a STRONG EMPHASIS on what are the priorities in life, and in daily routine.. Really helped me to tune my MIND towards my larger goal and to ger rid of frustruations, arguments and other sensitiveness at least to certain extent..

    Thank you very much

  • Kamal September 29, 2009, 1:39 am

    This story is deeply touching….

    I have never realized the importance of my family, friends and relations ever before, it has changed my entire view…

    Thanks to the author, for making me what I really meant to be….

  • Eyza September 27, 2009, 4:16 am

    It’s very touching story.!.!.!.!.! Wow impressing story!!!!!!

  • Suniel Raj September 26, 2009, 2:51 am

    Every moral story needn’t to be true, but only thing is that the moral what it gives is inspirational & applicable.

  • Fresh-biology September 25, 2009, 5:47 pm

    I think that the message here is to set your social priorities first , Family always come first in fact the inner peace come from socializing with your family and friends and the unimportant things always come in the second stage even if it was more important to you than socializing.

  • Pascal daniel September 25, 2009, 10:25 am

    Very good and inspiring, will surely change d thinking of a lot of students to whom I will narrate this.

  • Esayas Bekele Geleta September 22, 2009, 7:18 pm

    This is one of the few best saying that I read in my life.

  • Sampathkumar Natarajan September 20, 2009, 12:23 pm

    An excellent story with a good point to all materialistic people. Hats off to the writer!

  • Amzad August 28, 2009, 3:24 am

    It is one of wonderful and beautiful story which I read recently.The author try to convey us that family comes first and rest is enjoyment.I agree with this author and Iam expecting more stories in future.Thank you once again.Looking feedback from readers if possible comments on feedback also../

  • Renoo May 9, 2009, 11:10 am

    Wow! wonderful story.

  • Naikhatsaw April 18, 2009, 2:20 pm

    Thought of not going home this year but family first, right? Thx, u guys keep it up.

  • Ebong Franklin April 7, 2009, 9:44 am

    “If you put the sand in the jar first”,…… I think our priorities are very vital issues to be addressed.

  • Ndoumah Victor April 2, 2009, 9:01 am

    Then the professor took a cup of coffee and poured it into the ‘filled’ jar. Of course, it filled every little gap. Then he said, “try and spend some coffee time with a friend or two”.

  • Aaron March 9, 2009, 5:16 am

    Thanx a lot, am really touched, but in order to pay attention to the important stuff (family,etc) one needs resources, resources are got by working (hard). So I think, important things in life change as one grows up. When young, make lots of money, then get a partner you can take good care of, then get the kids. Thanx

  • Plat March 8, 2009, 4:51 am

    Story is incredible and value lesson.

  • Deepak February 25, 2009, 10:31 pm

    Wonderful story. It gives the perspecive for looking at your life in true sence.

  • Pooja February 14, 2009, 4:53 am

    It’s very touching and heartily story.!@!@!@!@!@!@!@!

  • Suku February 2, 2009, 8:00 am

    Very beautiful & touching story for students & adults

  • Naim January 24, 2009, 10:46 am

    It is true about our life…family first then rest

  • Nice Naresh goud December 20, 2008, 4:26 am

    I like this story very much. I don’t think what is important in life before I read. After reading I realized that what is important in life. Thanks for author of this story.

  • Laura December 13, 2008, 12:41 am

    Thank you for the wonderful site.

  • Vava December 12, 2008, 2:01 am

    Yes, indeed. It’s good morale. It’s something to think about our lifes and values.

  • Daniel December 9, 2008, 7:54 pm

    Then, the professor reached under the table and pulled out a bottle of PBR. He poured it in, and it, of course, fit into the gaps between sand particles. “And this, my students, demonstrates that there is ALWAYS room for a little booze in your life.”

Comments Page 1 of 1012345...Newest ⟫⟫

Leave a Comment

Next post:

Previous post: