Whenever life gets you down, and 24 hours in a day are not enough, recall the tale of “the Flowerpot and the Beer”


A university professor stood in front of his philosophy class with a range of items laid out before him. Without saying a word, he took a very large flowerpot, and began to fill it with golf balls. When he was finished, he asked his students whether the pot was now full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then took a sack of gravel, and emptied it into the flowerpot. He shook the pot steadily, and the gravel rolled into the gaps between the golf balls. He then again asked his students whether the pot was now full. They agreed that is was.

The professor then produced a bucket of sand, and emptied it into the flowerpot. The small grains of sand naturally filled the gaps between the gravel. Asked once again, whether the pot was now full, the students concurred that it was indeed full.

The professor then grabbed two cans of beer from beneath the table, and emptied their entire contents into the pot, filling up the gaps between the grains of sand. The students laughed.

“Now”, said the professor as the laughter slowly subsided, “I want you to view this flowerpot  as representative of your life:

The golf balls are the important things in your life,
your family, your children, your health, your friends,
the things you believe in and are passionate about,
those which even if you were to lose all else,
would still make your life complete.

The gravel represents the other things in life,
such as your work, your house, your car.

The sand is everything else, the small things in life.

If you put the sand into the pot first, there is no room for the gravel or golf balls.

The same applies to your life: If you invest all your time and energy in the small things, you will never have room in your life for the really important things.

Look out for things that threaten your happiness.
Play with your children.
Take time for a medical check up.
Take your partner out for dinner.

There will always be enough time left to clean the house or complete your duties.

Focus your attention on the golf balls – the things that are really important.
The rest is just sand.”

Some of the students raised their hands, wanting to know where the beer came in.
The professor chuckled.
“I'm glad you asked! It demonstrates that however hard your life may be, there is always room for a beer or two.