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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 }
  • Idiot February 8, 2013, 7:47 am

    It’s my favorite story and it’s true of our life.

  • Rosy February 6, 2013, 8:07 am

    Yes, I do agree with u guys it’s a nice story…..But still the rock list includes also ur job and career…without a single penny these things are impossible, even if we think we can’t……

  • Ranjit January 28, 2013, 11:39 pm

    nice story…

  • Aishwarya January 26, 2013, 2:27 am

    Very nice, inspiring & guiding. It is very useful to youngsters.

  • Aye Chan Aung January 22, 2013, 11:21 am

    The story made me aware of important things in life:) Thanks a million:)

  • Oindrala January 21, 2013, 1:38 pm

    Lovely…it’s awesome.

  • Susan January 21, 2013, 10:38 am

    It is a good thought provoking story 4 today’s youth to begin life anew.

  • Susan January 21, 2013, 10:32 am

    The stones symbolize mankind. So priority should be given to the people around us and be fruitful to them by sharing and caring for them.

  • Gail January 21, 2013, 8:58 am

    This is so true =)

  • Aye Chan Aung January 18, 2013, 1:55 am

    This is really awakening story for me. I have now come to realize that I must give priorities to the most important things for my life.:) Thank you with all my heart:)

  • Umang January 17, 2013, 8:22 am

    Very good story. I learned something from the author.

  • Sanapala Harika January 10, 2013, 1:21 am

    It is a very nice story about life. Everyone should learn something from this story.

  • B sadayat January 8, 2013, 8:35 pm

    If every person learned from this, the world become happy, healthy & wealthy. Thanks

  • Bunny January 7, 2013, 9:42 am

    An awesome story with a great moral! Loved it..:)

  • Alok January 7, 2013, 9:37 am

    Thank u for such wonderful stories!!! Now there are many stories here for me to read.

  • Johnson P John January 6, 2013, 1:00 pm

    Good story…. sometimes we forget what actually matters in life….

  • Hasmodin Ansari January 5, 2013, 2:40 pm

    This is my first moral story which today I read it. And I loved it because the author is trying to say in the human life the first thing which comes is family. After that all other thing will come.

    By reading this story today I learned first the family comes then all the joyment will come. Thanks to the author for giving this kind of moral story. Thanks a lot.

  • Vikram December 30, 2012, 3:16 pm

    The Authur is absolutely right, but it is very difficult to implement it in real life.,,Nowadays everything starts and ends up only with Money. Even if u want your parents ur life partner to be happy u need money………..I still want to say that money is not everything but money has much more power.

  • Jenny December 30, 2012, 2:12 am

    An awesome story with a great moral! Loved it..:)

  • Martha Grajalez December 29, 2012, 10:07 pm

    Omg!!! That was amazing… Sometimes life is never easy because we start with the sand… then (Husband/Wife) people get upset…

    Always start with the stones and peples… if you start in the hard way, the rest will be easier than anything in the world. ;-|

  • Nagaraju December 20, 2012, 11:25 am

    It’s a really good story that gives a wonderful information regarding to life for students and everyone.

  • Tejy Gosal December 18, 2012, 12:27 pm

    Thanks to all repliers whose made this life story priceless. Thank to prof and repliers. God bless them all.

  • Nathan December 18, 2012, 9:50 am

    Every man should understand their responsibilities toward family first and the other thing is just a beauty of life (job, small stuff, wealth…)

  • Rose December 17, 2012, 5:10 pm

    Really a nice one!

  • Aadilbhat December 15, 2012, 1:15 am

    I had learned from this story the real moral of life.

  • Bhaskar December 14, 2012, 12:31 am

    Heart touching story…. !!

  • Marino December 13, 2012, 8:24 am

    It’s really very inspiring story. It reminds us once agen that family is the most important thing in this world.

  • Anna may ignacio December 12, 2012, 4:18 pm

    Very touching stories. 🙂

  • Atul December 12, 2012, 7:36 am

    We can pour water also in it

  • Harshjha December 12, 2012, 7:16 am

    It’s really awesome. It gives a boost to our life.

  • Irfan kk December 9, 2012, 11:19 am

    This is the best example for our life to improve it.

  • Anvar Kazm Saberi December 9, 2012, 7:30 am

    Really it was nice and heart touching story.

  • Purushotham December 8, 2012, 12:10 am

    It’s fundamentals of life every go like this the life will be happy and healthy.

  • Harsha December 3, 2012, 12:19 pm

    Many people think money and power are more important than family, this story may help them.

  • Vanshika December 2, 2012, 8:00 am

    You are absolutely right about your point, the family should be our first priority but as far as I am concerned, people today are much concerned about the pebbles and sand and when they come to know about the importance of the rocks, they are left with no where to fill, the jars are full…

  • Beegeeaar December 2, 2012, 7:06 am

    The above story makes one lot of thinking. The ideas it conveys give one the importance of treating important things important and then trivial matters last. An instructive story.

  • Hrushika November 29, 2012, 10:25 am

    Oh wow! What a story, I really liked it. Extremely important for so many people!

  • Sumit Ilamkar November 29, 2012, 7:50 am

    It is very inspirational, I will from now more concentrate on family thank u sir.

  • Dinesh November 25, 2012, 3:09 am

    Nice website……..and wonderfull short stories.

  • Shaju Vadakumpadan November 21, 2012, 7:48 pm

    It is really a wonderful story. It gives me the right perspective of our relation with others and things. Thanks a lot.

  • Vikram November 15, 2012, 3:51 pm

    Excellent story…Thank you very much….These type of stories will be helpful for teenage to think and act…..

  • Arokia November 14, 2012, 9:28 am

    Really awesome…………. heart touching story……………….

  • Vishal November 2, 2012, 4:48 am

    It is a wonderful inspiration in life and we should follow it….

  • Zarine November 1, 2012, 8:43 am

    Very inspirational 🙂

  • Saumya October 31, 2012, 2:20 pm

    Nice story

  • Srividhya October 30, 2012, 4:49 am

    Superb! The story has a extraordinary value….. wonderful!!!

  • Rita Borg October 29, 2012, 11:51 pm

    In life family is very important, you have to be there for better or worst. Also comunication and then by working hard together you will aciheve the rest.

    Don’t forget God he fits anywhere most needed of all.

    Thanks so much these stories are so inspiration.

  • Anant Mali October 25, 2012, 2:26 am

    It’s really eye opening story needed todays.

  • Ajay Bijalwan October 24, 2012, 1:26 pm

    Very nice story. And my friend this is the most important thing we have to understand “Priority”.

  • Anuradha October 22, 2012, 7:16 pm

    Very true and impressive.

  • Anu October 22, 2012, 11:43 am

    It’s an amazing story.

  • Arjun Jadhav October 21, 2012, 1:41 pm

    The stories available here are really inspiring and guiding. Such things are very important in life that someone can make you understand your mistakes and guide you the right way.

  • Durga October 21, 2012, 5:03 am

    Excellent moral

  • Mns October 20, 2012, 2:48 am


  • Divyang Luthra October 17, 2012, 6:06 am


    This Is Really a Great Story on which is most Important for our life.

  • Harry October 15, 2012, 3:35 pm

    It’s really true. Enjoy life and give happiness to loved ones, spend as much time.

  • Saeed Akarri October 14, 2012, 4:17 pm

    Tip for everyone: learn from others when we do not see the road.

  • Maryam October 14, 2012, 4:10 am

    Some thing that pops in to my head is that most of human has forgotten alot of essential items in life like mother, father, friends and they exchanged it with fruitless stuff, like ever making an excuse such for going to party. Neeeeever worse?

  • Vasu October 12, 2012, 7:18 am

    But when the glass full of the three things mentioned falls, it will hurt more…

  • Nag3005 October 11, 2012, 1:51 pm

    Timeless truth lesson thoughts…

  • Omah October 10, 2012, 11:03 pm

    Thank you very much for this site. This story really brings me back to reality.

  • Pankaj October 8, 2012, 10:19 am

    The real fact is very important for todays generation who have all the time for materialistic life and luxury which is temporary. But have no time for family members who are life long.

  • Shraddha Rakshe October 8, 2012, 12:45 am

    Awesome story…. made me think for a few seconds…. I never thought this way before…

    I have ample of time for other things which are less important… and so I ignore the important things in my life! But this story leads to a realization, that I consider is very important for leading a good life!!

  • Hasano October 6, 2012, 9:34 am

    I read the story, it was wonderful.

  • Nwabuike October 5, 2012, 4:28 pm

    After reading the touching tale, I was super charged. Please continue posting, thank you for the leading.

  • Gayathri October 4, 2012, 12:13 am

    It’s fact. If we cannot recognize & prioritize main things in life what we gain is only Sand.

  • Rita Borg October 4, 2012, 12:03 am

    I and reading this story has made me more determine of how much my family means to me as a mother. I have always loved my family even during time I was growing up with 8 siblings God was and still is my first rock may all have a room in yor hearth for him. Thank you for for such a lesson I am 65 married for 44 yrs never know enough. God bless.

  • Darling October 1, 2012, 3:23 pm

    That’s true.. we have to give importance to people not to things or money.. Nice story..

  • Asad Ahmad Usmani September 30, 2012, 4:44 am

    Fantastic, I liked it very much

  • KANPE September 28, 2012, 5:03 am

    I love this story, God bless the writer.

  • Pragati Chauasia September 27, 2012, 5:01 am

    Good story for children. Clear vision example

  • Asit September 26, 2012, 10:05 am

    Heart touching…

  • Virgil Popa September 23, 2012, 10:24 pm

    I believe that we should live our life the way we want, because nobody knows the truth about life.

  • Rajkumar singh September 23, 2012, 10:50 am

    So nice, it encouraged me a lot…

  • Sanjay September 23, 2012, 9:35 am

    Reality of life.

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