When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the Mayonnaise Jar and the 2 Beers.
This is a story about a professor who stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.
He then 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. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full.
They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.
The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’
The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.
The students laughed.
‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognise that this jar represents your life.
The golf balls are the important things—your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car. The sand is everything else—the small stuff.
‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or Golf balls’.
The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. 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. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’
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
So why did I post this blog with the keyword as ‘Perceptual Positions’?
Well, firstly because I had to choose something to enter. And secondly, because I believe that this beautiful story, while it is not strictly speaking perceptual positions in the truest sense of the term in NLP, does put into context different perceptions, how easily they can be wrong and how quickly they can change.
It seems there is some debate about who first wrote this or where it came from. Certainly not me. But it touched me after a friend forwarded it on to me with the following message “I was going to ring you the other day as had reached the height of stress and needed some help rationalising and then I received this and it helped. So I thought I would forward it to you as it is up your street….”
I hope it is right up your street and it helped you in some way too…. remember, life and problems are all a matter of ‘perceptual positions’.
If you would like to know more about, or have an experience of, the very powerful nlp technique ‘perceptual positions’ then email me firstname.lastname@example.org.