A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and put them on the stove. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first pot she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil and twenty minutes later she turned off the burners.
She removed the carrots and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?”
“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied. Her mother asked her to feel the carrots.
She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she smelled the aroma and tasted its rich flavor. The daughter then asked, “What does it mean?”
Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity, boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.
The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.
The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water, making it fragrant and giving it flavor.
“Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?”
What about you?
When facing a challenge in life are you weakened and feel defeated by the experience? Or do you become hardened and bitter because of the event? Or do you see it as an opportunity to influence those around you, to make a positive difference, to leave the situation better than when you started?
It is possible to be the latter, so now’s the time to start working towards it.