Coffee Anyone?


There is a great story that was going around a few years ago about a young woman who 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. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out 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,” the daughter replied. The mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. The daughter did and noted that they got soft. Mother then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, daughter observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, Mother asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled, as she smelled its rich aroma. The daughter then asked. “What’s the point, mother?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity — boiling water — but 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.

“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?”

That’s a fair question for all of us. When “stuff” happens, how do you respond? Do you get weak in the knees? Maybe hard headed or worse, hard hearted? Or do you take control and change the very circumstances that created the challenge in the first place. Think about it!

8 thoughts on “Coffee Anyone?

  1. Hmm, very simple story with very clear message. Thanks for sharing. Reminds me of the saying that ‘we are not shaped by our circumstances, rather, we are shaped by our choices’ & ‘life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react’.
    Thanks for pushing me towards self-reflection. Our ‘always-on’ society takes us away from true inspection & self-reflection. Again, I thank you. Paul

    1. Thanks Paul, I love that story because it reminds me that so much of our life is affected by how we react to the things around us… We can’t always choose our circumstances but we can choose how we respond to them.

  2. Another lovely and very true post. We need to like our own company, so much better, I never get bored with myself, I always find something to entertain me. I think I am good company for myself! I love all your quotes!

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