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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

{ 697 comments… add one }
  • A.kumar October 24, 2013, 2:47 am

    It is an ages old fable narrated in different ways.

  • Ranjan October 18, 2013, 2:42 am

    Excellent moral story, it’s very helpful to me.

  • Elizabeth October 17, 2013, 7:30 pm

    The story is great and it is very important for our life, it will help us so very much.

  • Abdus Samad October 14, 2013, 1:39 pm

    I think one line should be added at last, that is, Professor should pour a cup of tee after Sand because after all you should have a time for your family for a cup of tee. That’s all.

  • Senoraroy October 1, 2013, 8:00 am

    I am sure you are a deep thinker and a really genuine person. Your work is speaking for you. I am full with great respect for the treasure of talent you possess. Hats off !!!

  • Aisha September 28, 2013, 7:43 am

    Nice moral story.

  • Maribel Olaer Reponte September 26, 2013, 9:41 pm

    So nice huhuhu the very nice story I’ve ever read.

  • Prem September 24, 2013, 6:33 am


  • Manpamark September 19, 2013, 12:25 pm

    This is just the right story that I’ve been searching for..the best moral story ever. Millions thanks to Author.

  • Izhar September 19, 2013, 11:02 am

    Nice…. it’s very inspirational…

  • Sonakshi Gupta September 19, 2013, 3:10 am

    So inspiring… A big lesson in short story… Nyc 1…

  • Chiang Mai September 17, 2013, 11:11 pm

    Life is indeed ironic. It takes weird things and needs uncommon tasks to be fully understood.

  • Corazon Alar September 13, 2013, 7:34 am

    Very helpful for my project.

  • Nazir August 27, 2013, 2:07 am

    Good words indeed! It’s by no means true that other people who will help you besides your parents and siblings. They care about you and are always ready to be with you in toughest times. If I have free time, I spent it with my nearest people. No matter how I spent it – just talking to them, helping to do household duties, or just simply playing with them…most important thing is that I spent this little period of time together! They help me emotionally and encourage me never give up.

  • Rajesh August 25, 2013, 2:09 am

    Story is all about true and a wonderful message to all the people around universe. Thanks for the good message.

  • Akanksha August 22, 2013, 12:24 pm

    We are all so messed up in our life that we don’t understand whom to give importance and when… this story really makes us realize what matters more in life… nice story..:)

  • Vikas Arora August 22, 2013, 6:30 am

    Very well said in this story, We have to priorities our lives keep this types of stories and examples in mind. I am sure by this way some where and some time we get the good and peaceful life.

  • Senthil Kumar August 18, 2013, 1:25 pm

    Great story. Eye opener with simple explanation.

  • Prasad August 9, 2013, 4:02 am

    Wonderful story.

  • Sammy August 7, 2013, 5:22 am


  • Rohana August 1, 2013, 6:51 am

    Ya super and best story.

  • Sandeep July 28, 2013, 6:09 pm

    This story just relaxed my mind….and I thought what the hell I am running after.. thanks a lot..

  • Khuzair July 28, 2013, 3:54 am


  • Paolo July 28, 2013, 1:10 am

    It is true, and a really important message to always remember of. I love this website, it so helpful to daily life. I learned so much good things about life in this moral story and other stories on the main page. I LOVE THIS WEBSITE.

  • Meldonn July 24, 2013, 7:59 pm

    Thank you for this wonderful lesson. I learned a lot of things, I will use this message as a devotional to my class. Godbless.

  • Akhetuamen eric July 24, 2013, 3:54 pm

    Am impressed by this wonderful site. God bless you all.

  • Malan July 23, 2013, 9:58 am

    What does it mean by “fix the disposal”?

  • Gdvs July 19, 2013, 6:08 am

    Very nice ….

  • UD July 19, 2013, 12:34 am

    Very, very good story for everyone. I did that mistake in my life…I hope I still doing πŸ™‚ most of peoples do that mistake that because they can’t understand what’s most important thing in they life’s, just like me πŸ™‚ but finally everyone realized that…unfortunately that we realized that thing we can’t change those things..because we can’t go back of the time πŸ™ Finally I give all of you a little advice, before you say or do something; think a minute what you’re going to do or say…just a minute.

  • Abin July 18, 2013, 9:50 am

    Super. I love it.

  • Srinivasa Raghavan July 17, 2013, 1:25 pm

    Great examples by the professor.

  • Mosin July 15, 2013, 3:14 pm

    It is great to read stories like this. I am Mosin from Iraq. The human must be like honey bee eating good and giving good thank you.

  • Neeraj Verma July 14, 2013, 12:37 pm

    Nice story…

  • Rekha July 13, 2013, 10:04 am

    Yes, it changed my life.

  • Niharika July 12, 2013, 9:18 am

    The story is very precise. But the message given by the professor to his students and to us is far more huge. Every one should apply this to their lives today so that they can be more satisfied from their life.

  • Bharadwaj July 11, 2013, 2:03 pm

    Nice Story! The real meaning of life has been shown here in terms of a story!

  • Valliappa July 11, 2013, 3:20 am

    Very good moral story. I think any one who follow this will definitely have a good life.

  • Rekha July 10, 2013, 9:45 am

    It’s a really good story.

  • Harshad July 1, 2013, 6:21 am

    Very much convincing.

  • Shaik.mahaboob Basha June 30, 2013, 10:56 am

    It is just the same as our life. I think it is a good moral story for every one. Thanks 2 the author.

  • Stephengalila June 30, 2013, 12:52 am

    The story, notice that life, is precious….

  • Swati Chauhan June 24, 2013, 4:14 am

    Nice story……

  • Jegan June 20, 2013, 10:00 am

    Nice story.

  • Leizel June 14, 2013, 8:43 am

    Soo correct.. :).. I must take good care of my rocks than to fill my life with the small stuff.. A nice passage..

  • Gagandeep Kaur June 12, 2013, 1:36 am

    Such a great motivational story……….always trust God and do what u want…… Becoz life is too short and it gives u only once… enjoy your life and try to makes others happy….

  • Murali June 10, 2013, 12:48 pm

    Great, great, great, thanks to whoever has made it….. Thank you thank make my life a great one.

  • Payal June 8, 2013, 11:06 pm

    I had read this story before from here itself and I loved it. Today again I’m reading it to remind myself to focus on things that are most imp in my life rather than staying in a constant state of worry for other things….thanks it’s truly helpful……

  • Melvin Mathew June 7, 2013, 2:17 am

    Good one….!!!

  • Sumedha May 29, 2013, 2:03 pm

    It’s important for everyone to know the value of different things in life.

  • Sandy May 22, 2013, 3:03 pm

    This is really an excellent story and needs to be read by all the teens.

  • R.Shivaram May 15, 2013, 3:04 am

    Day to day life slogans to live for Family

  • Harminder Singh May 10, 2013, 3:07 am

    Very nice story.

  • Kaunish Roy May 7, 2013, 12:12 pm

    Wow…..really high thinking…….I was depressed a few minute earliar but now I feel like I am good and I can do it.

  • Marites May 7, 2013, 7:42 am


  • Ranjana May 4, 2013, 1:03 pm

    Hey thanx for the beautiful stories to make life easy and cheerful….keep going…

  • Oza April 29, 2013, 11:44 pm

    An eye opener for anyone who is wandering here and there for sand sort of things.

  • Prakash April 19, 2013, 3:24 pm

    Still I realized, we don’t go looking somewhere like that sand … we should spend in our family thankyou…

  • Arpithareddy April 19, 2013, 10:12 am

    Every story is so immpressing and sooooooo…..good but if you can avoid using hard words that people who dont know the meanings we can pay more attention towards your site.

  • Ashok April 16, 2013, 10:40 pm

    Now I understand that in our life rocks are more important…..

  • Anand April 16, 2013, 1:56 pm

    It gives a true message to us.

  • Madhuraja.R April 9, 2013, 12:16 pm

    It’s really touchable…. We must follow this…

  • Raju April 4, 2013, 6:38 am

    Nice story, enjoyed it, still the following can help us to be very in calm in life.

    My view of life: Yes, family is important but be unattached because we can’t control many things in life and including family member.

    Don’t try to be more perfect, because most of the things in the world not perfect and you expect to perfect where the conflict starts.

    Be generous, that is what nature does with each one us. otherwise remember the nature of substance are perishable.

    Be responsible, because at the end only you and your problem will left alone, nothing else or nobody else. Thanks.

  • Davids April 1, 2013, 8:59 am

    I am enjoying and learning a lot on almost everything you’re bringing on the table. It’s my prayer that God should keep on blessing you, you’re changing lifes of many people with the stories. Keep it up, God be with you.

  • Sadiqa April 1, 2013, 4:48 am

    Hi Dear,

    I am 67 years old. First time I have accidentally got on your blog I was very sad at the time, very inspiring stories. Some of them is what I have gone and is going in life. From my heart God Bless the people that wrote it. It is a blessing to read it every day and appreciate these beautiful stories. Thanks to ALMIGHTY GOD FOR WHAT WE HAVE. I wish I could open this in iPad, iPhone or in ebook so wherever I am I can read and tell these beautiful stories to all it is eye opening. Keep up this good work.

  • Bhavya March 31, 2013, 11:34 am

    Wonderful example … the thing is small but content is incredible…:)

  • Mohit March 28, 2013, 3:53 am

    This is a really good and motivational story. I really inspire me and force me think of taking vacation ASAP and go to home and meet my parents and brother. Hats off to writer. Hope we will find more new stories.

  • Ganga khatri March 6, 2013, 10:46 am

    I’m really getting a great opportunity to analyse and think deeply about my time and life.

  • Bhanupriya March 1, 2013, 5:39 am

    It has a very nice moral and it is good wonderful thought for everyone.

  • Sean February 27, 2013, 12:20 pm

    Good stuff food for thought.

  • Ashwini February 26, 2013, 10:18 am

    It works for me ….

  • Jilani February 22, 2013, 2:37 pm

    Everyone should know the value of time after studying the story.. this story is simply super… I feel so happy…

  • Pranjal February 19, 2013, 4:25 pm

    It’s really a heart touching story….it’s the real life…just woowwwwww!

  • Silambarasu February 14, 2013, 12:10 pm

    Wow! Really nice. I am going to talk about this in my school. Definitely that would be a hit. Thanks.

  • Ali February 11, 2013, 11:29 am

    Thanks for teaching me the importence of life..

  • Ravy February 8, 2013, 2:08 pm

    It is true we all should follow the rocks the sand and the pebbles if we follow all of these we all will live a better hopefull lovable life.

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