Growing from Adversity – Carrots, Eggs, and Coffee

    We all want to live a happy life. We want life to be smooth and pleasurable. However, sometimes, there are bumps along the way. Sometimes we encounter curves, detours and potholes as we navigate towards our intended destination.
    It’s not whether or not we will encounter challenge. It’s our response to it once we do.

    I heard a great story about growing from adversity. Thought you would enjoy (for my fellow coffee addicts, it’s even better).

    A young man went to his mentor for advice. His life was hard and he couldn’t take it anymore. He wanted to give up. He was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as soon as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

    The mentor took him into the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first pot, he placed carrots, in the second he placed eggs, and in the last he placed ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

    After about twenty minutes or so, he turned off the burners. He took out the carrots and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then he ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to the young man, he said, “Tell me what you see.”

    “Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” he replied.

    Pointing to the carrots, he asked the young man to feel them. They were soft. Then he asked him to take an egg and break it. After peeling off the shell, he observed the hard cooked egg. Finally, he asked him to sip the coffee. The young man smiled as he tasted its rich aroma.

    The young man was perplexed. He asked, “I don’t understand what this has to do with my life?”

    The mentor explained, Each of these objects faced the same adversary – 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 changed the water.

    “Which are you?” he asked the young man. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

    Which are we?

    Are we the carrot which seems strong, but with pain and adversity, wilt and become soft and lose our strength?

    Are we the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Do we have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, become hardened and stiff? Do our shells look the same, but on the inside, we are bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

    Or are we like the coffee bean? The bean that actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are the bean, then when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.

    When it comes to adversity, are we the carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

    The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the most of what comes their way. The brightest future will always be based on growing from your past. We can’t become the people we are destined to be unless we learn from, and let go of, our past failures and heartaches.

    The key to greatness is the ability to learn, grow, and move on.To focus on what lies ahead, the person we know we can be, and work until that dream becomes a reality.

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