Have you made the Right Investment?

When we hear the word ‘Investment’ what is the one thing that comes to our mind…? Returns’ the only one I guess, that we are instantly reminded of.

Yes, my dear friends, Investment and Returns on Investment is what I would like to share my ideas on. Investing timely and investing smartly, if not calculated properly, then one will certainly be deprived of the benefits in the years to come. Well, my idea of investment is not in terms of monetary or fiscal benefits but definitely something much more than that, which has a crucial impact on our lives. It is essential that we as individuals make smart choices while planning and carrying out our life’s investment. Failing to do the right ones, can leave us alone and shattered in times of distress.

This reminds me of a story that I heard a couple of years back while attending a talk that was based on ‘Work-Life Balance’ in our day to day life. This famous and inspiring story of the ‘Mayonnaise Jar and the Golf Balls’, the author of which is unknown, has had a huge impact on my life and am sure on all those who’ve heard it. If practiced religiously in our day to day lives, it certainly can work wonders in terms of prioritizing both people and things while coping with difficult situations in life. Each time when I am stranded in life’s journey, when juggling my commitments get difficult by the day, I am all of a sudden reminded of this particular story which acts as a rescue mechanism in those troubled times. I wish to share this story with all those who make improper investments in life. I hope my small attempt to make people aware of their investments which may never give profit but would certainly make them rich in the long run.

Once a Professor of Philosophy, entered the classroom and laid a few things on the table placed before him. An empty mayonnaise glass jar, a box of golf balls, a box of small rounded pebbles, a box of sand and lastly two cups of coffee. While his students sat in great curiosity to know what was he going to demonstrate using all that was kept on the table, the professor without saying a word proceeded to fill up the huge empty glass jar with the golf balls.


He then looked at his students and asked if the jar was full, to which he received a unanimous ‘Yes’.

He then went on to pour all the small pebbles from the box into the glass jar by shaking it a little in order to make the pebbles role into the empty spaces.  After he had done that, he once again turned to his students and asked, now if the Jar looked full. Well once again, it was a unanimous ‘Yes’ from the students.


Next the professor picked up the box of sand and started pouring the same into the jar while occasionally shaking the contents of it, so that there was enough space in the jar for everything to fit easily. He then lifted his head and asked his students for the third time, if the jar looked full, to which the response was ‘Yes, of course’!


After having done all that the professor, poured the two cups of coffee into the mayonnaise jar, thus filling the empty space between the sand. Seeing this, the students of psychology laughed.


While the professor waited for the laughter to subside, he began to explain the underlying meaning of this demonstration and said that this huge empty glass jar represented each one of our lives. The golf balls indicate the most important parts of life that is our family, friends, health and certain other things which are crucial to us and which we can’t afford to lose. Even if we lost everything and only these few things remained, then too our life would be full and complete.

The small rounded pebbles represent those things in life such as our job, our assets, our house etc. which are essential but are of less importance to us.

The sand in the glass jar is all the small things in life for which we do not really put in all the effort to procure. The professor further elaborated by explaining that if we put the sand into the jar, then there would be no space at all for the golf balls and the small pebbles. The same is applicable for our lives too. If we pay a lot of attention to the small things in life, we will ignore the larger and more important things thus regretting it as we grow old. It is advised that we spend quality time with our family, our children, our relatives, our near and dear ones, our friends and all those who have a direct impact on us and vice versa. If we spend our time doing unimportant things we will surely have missed out on the beautiful and meaningful side of life which is the reason for all our happiness and fulfillment.


It is appropriate to take care of the golf balls first, the people and things which really matter the most to us, by setting our priorities right. The rest all is sand.

As the professor was concluding, one of his students raised his hand and inquired what the two cups of coffee represented. To which the professor smiled and said, ‘I am glad, you asked’. The cups of coffee just shows that no matter how busy one’s life is, yet if one wishes, then he/she can surely enjoy a few cups of coffee in the company of friends.

With this, am sure the message has been delivered. In order to enjoy and relish every bite of the doughnuts of life one needs to suspend all apprehensions so that one can make the right investments.

Thus I repeat, that some investments will never give us Profit, but will certainly make us Rich!

Family and Friends are such Investments!


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