Cherish the Important Things in Life’s easy for us to forget about the things in life that really matter. Caught up in the daily grind, spending hours surfing social media, watching the polarizing news — all of a sudden, we forget about the things in our life that have the most value and remembering them gets harder.


Anger, bitterness and jealousy are a few toxic emotions that we need to be wary of and when we take our eyes off the truly important things in life, our mind follows — once we’ve let the negative things fill the void, its just a short trip to permanent unhappiness. The following story is a gentle reminder that we all need to keep our eyes on the real treasures in life:

A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items on the table in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, about 2 inches in diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up the remaining open areas of the jar.

He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “Yes.”

“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – things that 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, 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 the rocks. The same goes for your 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. Play with your children. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party, or fix the disposal.”

“Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

– Author unknown

So many people want to be happy and positive, but very often fall into the trap of becoming angry, bitter and unkind and this causes us to lose sight of the things that are truly valuable in life: family, loved ones, health, happiness and I want to add, peace and harmony. Is it human nature that causes so many people to let the toxic emotions rule their hearts and mind? Perhaps its modern life, with all of its chaos and mania — after all, before the advent of Television, movies, video games and social media, people were in fact, a great deal happier. It could be that people used to spend more time with their family and loved ones, and this made them realize just how valuable the truly important things in life really are.

How We Can Once Again Value the Truly Important Things in Life:

Write your priorities down: Writing important things down has several benefits, one of the most important being that it forces us to contemplate and reflect more. Keep this list of priorities near you and review it regularly and when you do, ask yourself if you’re doing enough to keep those priorities safe.

Write down what is not important to you: If spending hours on Twitter or watching political news for hours at a time is keeping you distracted, then are they really important to you? Perhaps these are the very things that are causing the problems? If so, write them down and keep this list near you as well. Getting rid of negative distractions can help us focus on the truly important things.

Replace negative thoughts with positive ones: If you hate your job and you feel its keeping you unhappy, consider that you can always change jobs — one’s career is important, but if your situation is untenable, strategize how to change that situation. If you dislike someone because of their political views, sexual orientation, race, etc, then put yourself in their shoes — try understanding how their life has been. The objective is to get negative thoughts and habits out of your life, so that you have room for more beneficial and positive ones.

Do unto others: Of course, forgetting about what really matters in life doesn’t mean someone is a bad person, but often when it does happen, people can become self-absorbed. Trying to be more tolerant and understanding helps us to realize that we’re all just trying to make it in this life, so treat others the way you want to be treated.

Take up the good: Kindness really does matter, as does compassion and generosity. Being kind and helping others grounds us and really helps us to stay focused on the truly important things in life.

Just do it: Talking about it and thinking about it are not really actions per se — once you’ve reflected and have made the conclusions best for you, go ahead and re-orient life to treasuring those things that matter most — family, health, loved ones, peace, harmony, etc.

“One small positive thought can change your whole day.” – Zig Ziglar

“You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.” – Joyce Meyer