The story of the flowerpot and the beer

When things in your life are getting harder and harder, when 24 hours a day isn’t enough, remember the “flowerpot and the beer”. A little anecdote about the important things in life.

The history

A professor stood in front of his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. As the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large flowerpot and began   filling it with golf balls . He asked the students if the pot was full now. They agreed.

Then the professor took a container with small  pebbles  and poured them into the pot. He moved the pot gently and the pebbles rolled into the voids between the golf balls. Then he asked the students again if the pot was full. They agreed.

The professor next took a can of  sand  and poured it into the pot. Of course, the sand filled the smallest remaining space. He asked again if the pot was full. The students unanimously answered “yes”.

Then the professor got two cans of  beer  from under the table and poured the whole content into the pot, thus filling the last space between the grains of sand. The students laughed.

The lesson from history

“Now,” said the professor as the laughter subsided, “I want you to   view this pot as the representation of your life .

The golf balls are the  important things  in your life: your family, your children, your health, your friends, the favorite, even passionate aspects of your life, which, if everything were lost in your life and only these remained, your life anyway would still be filled out.

The pebbles symbolize the other things in life like  your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else, the  little things . If you put the sand in the pot first,” the professor continued, “there isn’t room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same applies to your life.

  • If you invest all your time and energy in small things, you will never have room for the important things.
  • Pay attention to the things that endanger your happiness.
  • Play with the kids. Take the time for a medical exam. Take your partner out to dinner. There will still be time to clean the house or do chores.
  • Pay attention to the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

And the beer?

One of the students raised his hand and wanted to know what the beer is supposed to represent. The professor smirked, “I’m glad you asked that. It’s there to show you that no matter how difficult your life may be, there’s still room for a beer or two.”


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