Is Your Life Filled with Golf Balls or Sand?

By Samantha Parrish – 


Ok- I’ll admit it- I am a people pleaser (hoping to enter recovery).  Maybe it’s the first-born thing or maybe it’s my pride that can’t admit when I can’t do it all, but I tend to say ‘yes’ to too many things.  In my personal life, I have been trying to say no to things that will pull me away from my top 5 priorities.  


For a variety of reasons, we often say ‘yes’ to things we really don’t want to do- we feel like we should, we feel like the person asking really needs it, we don’t want to admit that we can’t.  On the flip side, we often say yes to things we want to do but really don’t have time to do- hang out with friends, watch a football game instead of study etc.   Both scenarios are a problem.  The path to success, in any area of life, involves sacrifice. We have to learn to admit that we can’t do everything, we have higher priorities, we have to focus our energy.  The most valuable item you have is your time.  It is extremely limited but you can make the most of it when you arrange your priorities in the correct order.  The story below is one of my favorites:


The teacher cleared off his desk and placed on top of it a few items.  One of the items was an empty mason 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 indeed full.

The teacher 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.  Once again, they agreed.

Now the teacher picked up a bag of sand and poured it into the mason 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 agreed it was technically full.

Finally, the teacher pulled out two waters from under his desk and poured both of them into the jar filling the empty space between the sand. Now the students began to laugh wondering how far this was going.

The teacher 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.  If everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles represent the other things in life that matter, such as your job, house and car.  The sand—that is 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.

Enjoy time with family.  Go to dinner with your spouse.  Play games with your kids.  There will ALWAYS be time to clean the house or take yourself shopping.

Take care of the golf balls first—the things that really matter. The rest is just sand.”


Take inventory- are you filling your life with sand before golf balls?  Remember: Discipline is giving up what you want now for what you want most.

Side note: athlete’s please do not use this newsletter as ammo to not do chores- while living in someone else’s home, those count higher on the list than you’d like.


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Space is limited and they will fill up quickly so don’t delay.



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