"A college professor stood before his philosophy class at the start of a new semester. Silently, he picked up a very large jar and filled it with golf balls. Then he asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly, pebbles settling into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students again responded with a resounding "yes." The professor then produced two beers from under the table and poured them into the jar, filling the empty spaces between the sand. The students laughed.
"Now," said the professor. "I want you to understand that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things - your family, health, friends, and feeling of well-being. If everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter - your job, your house, your accomplishments etc. The sand is everything else - the small stuff."
"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there's no room left for the golf balls or pebbles. The same holds true for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you'll never have room for the things that are really important to you. Pay attention to the things that are essential to your happiness. Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Smell the flowers. Enjoy the beauty of existence. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first - the things that really matter. The rest is just sand."
One of the students then raised her hand and asked what the beer represented. The professor smiled, "I'm glad you asked. The beer shows you that, no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of beers with a friend."