Christmas time is a time of indulgence! And by the end of Christmas day, we’re usually full of something … stuffed full of food, or perhaps a skin full of Christmas ‘spirits’. There are some opinionated family members who are full of … ah … lets just say they’re metaphorically constipated.
While it’s nice to be full of good food and good wine, and not so nice to be full of oneself, the goal of this blog series is for everyone to be full of good cheer.
Which reminds me of a story … this story has been around a while so there are a few variations out there, but this is the one I remember.
A professor once cleared off his desk and placed on top of it a few items. One of the items was a large glass jar.
He proceeded to fill up the jar with golf balls until he could fit no more. He looked at the classroom and asked his students if they agree that the jar is full. Every student agreed that the jar was full.
The professor then picked up a box of small pebbles and poured them into the jar with the golf balls. The pebbles filled all of the openings in between the golf balls. He asked the students if the jar was full? Yes, they said, of course the jar is full.
Then the professor picked up a bag of sand and poured it into the jar. The sand filled in all of the empty space left between the golf balls and pebbles. He asked the class again if the jar was full. The students couldn’t argue, the jar was very full.
Finally, the professor pulled out two beers from under his desk and poured both of them into the jar filling the empty space between the sand. The students began to laugh. This demonstration had gone a lot further than any of them were expecting.
The professor waited until the laughter stopped. “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life,” he started. “The golf balls represent the important things. Your family, children, health, friends and passions.”
“The pebbles represent the other things in life that matter, such as your job, house and car. The sand, that’s everything else, the small stuff.”
“If you put the sand in first, there is no room for the pebbles or golf balls.”
“The same goes for life. If you spend all of your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are most important. Pay attention to the important things in your life. Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. The rest is just sand. You are dismissed.”
“But, what about the beer?” asked one student.
The professor smiled.
“There’s always room for a couple of beers.”
It’s an important lesson, and a very good illustration. You can have a full life, but it’s easy to become full of the stuff that doesn’t matter. When we focus on what’s important and get the balance right, when we put our values in first, we can still have a full life, but full of the things that matter to us the most.
There will always be time to clean the house or watch Netflix or take yourself shopping, but if you want to experience a Christmas, and indeed, a life of full of joy, put your values first. Enjoy time with your family. Play games with your kids. Look after those who are struggling, donate to a charity, plant trees … committed action in accordance with your values is the way to a rich and meaningful life of true joy.
And of course, there’s always time for a couple of beers 🙂