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I recently read a lifehacking story circulating around facebook that definitely impacted me more than any tech blog or news article all year. You may have read about it; it’s about a philosophy professor and his lecture on the jar of life. There are many versions of it out there, so here is my mashed up version of it:

The Story

The professor stood before his class and filled a large jar with golf balls and asked the students if the jar was full. All the students agreed it was. The professor then poured a box of pebbles into the same jar and watched the pebbles roll into the open areas between the golf balls and asked the same question. The students laughed and again agreed it was full. The professor poured a box of sand into the jar and the students watched as the sand filled the spaces between the pebbles. He asked the same question and the students answered with the same answer. The professor then grabbed two beers and poured the entire contents into the jar filling the remaining space between the sand.

“This jar signifies your life.” said the professor. “The golf balls are the important things, such as family, health, and relationships. The pebbles are the other things that matter in your life, such as work or school. The sand signifies the remaining small stuff and material possessions. If you put sand in the jar first, then there will be no room for golf balls or pebbles. If you put pebbles in the jar first, then there will be no room for golf balls. The same goes for your lives. If you spend all your time on the smaller stuff, you will never have room for the things that are truly important. Take some time to spend with your loved ones, play with your children, go for a run. Take care of the golf balls first. The rest is just pebbles and sand”

One of the students asked what the beer represented. The professor responded, “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.”

Our Take

The technology industry is always fast moving and we often get caught up in keeping up with the pace or trying to create the next big million dollar idea. While it’s good to pursue our passions, we should heed the professor’s lesson and really prioritize our lives. Your health and the people in your inner circle are much more important to your happiness than your new app.

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Comment by Brian on December 27, 2012 at 8:02pm
I hope it wasn't good beer.


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