My friend and former colleague (UD 1996), Brooke Packard Blanchard, sent me this story. We don’t know the author. If you do, please let me know. I would love to give him or her the proper credit. The story may make you sad at first. But put the wise words to work and it will serve to boost morale and productivity.


This conversation was heard on a ham radio. A gentleman was speaking with a smooth voice like he belonged in the broadcasting business. He was telling whomever he was talking with something about a thousand marbles.

“Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you’re busy with your job. I’m sure they pay you well but it’s a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet.

“Too bad you missed your daughter’s dance recital. Let me tell you something Tom, something that has helped me keep a good perspective on my own priorities.

“You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about eighty years. Some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about eighty years. I multiplied 80 times 52 and I came up with 4160, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime.

“It took me until I was sixty old to think about all this in any detail and by that time I had lived through over three thousand Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be eighty, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy.

“So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up 1000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside of a large, clear plastic container right here in the sack next to my gear. Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away.

“I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focus more on the really important things in life. There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight.

“Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign-off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure that if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time.

“It was nice to meet you Tom, I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet you again here on the band. 80 year Old Man, this is K9NZQ, clear and going QRT, good morning!”

You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow signed off.
I guess he gave everyone a lot to think about.


No one can tell us how to use our time, though Carl Sandburg gives some good advice about it.

Time is the coin of your life.

Maybe work is the most important thing for you right now. Maybe it is the dance recitals. But the first step is to decide.

And even then, if you are like most people, you will still need to remind yourself a lot. How about letting Mr. Sandburg help you? And then – spend away. On the things most important to you.
If you can do that, then you’ll feel better about losing your marbles.

Author's Bio: 

Jan has thirty years of sales and management experience and loves sharing it (plus her love for solving problems and for making work fun) with others so that they can get through tough situations, make big goals and celebrate these achievements.

She is now President of Business Class Inc which provides resources to managers and business owners such as one-on-one coaching, master mind groups and management team retreats. Plus FREE resources such as a Blog, E-Zine and Quote Libary, which includes over 100 motivational quotes ready to download, print, post and share to help teach, learn, remind and reinforce important keys for business success.