Golf Balls and Beer - A Life Lesson
The teacher cleared off his desk and placed on top of it a few items. One of the items was a large 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. They agreed it was.
Finally, the teacher pulled out two beers 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 said. "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 fill the jar with sand 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. You are dismissed."
Before the students left, one shouted out. "You never mentioned what the beer represents!"
The professor smiled and said, "Well I'm glad you asked. The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room to have a beer with a friend."
I suppose being a professional photographer is a little like golf or hitting a curve ball. One day I might shoot like Ben Hogan and the next I’m struggling to make par, mired in sand traps and never making a solid shot. Making solid shots, whether we’re talking golf or photography, is the name of the game. Birdies are nice...when they come along. And they do. And eagles are even better, but more elusive. I’ve shot a few.
But I don’t know if I’ve ever shot a hole-in-one. I look back thru my archives and see some images scattered here and there that might be close, but honestly I’d like to think that shot is still in my future. That’s one thing that keeps me going. Striving for that shot. That one shot that might just define me as a great photographer.
Each January the scores are back at zero and we’re off on a new round. There will be some easy par three shoots, plenty of par fours, and some hellacious par fives. Hopefully, somewhere along the way, I’ll click that shutter and know - just as a golfer might know when he connects with the ball - that I’ve just made my best shot ever.
Nahh, probably not. Put the gear back in the bag and carry on. There’ll be another round tomorrow.
Truth is, I don’t know if I want to make that shot. I’d rather just keep trying, over and over. Keep shooting. Keep shooting. Every course is different and that’s what I like. Photography. It’s the game that I love.