A daughter complained to her father about her life and how things were so hard for her. She didn’t know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of all of the fighting and struggling. It seemed that just as one problem was solved, a new one always arose.
Her father, a chef, took her into the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots began to a boil. In one pot he placed carrots, in the second pot he placed eggs, and in the third pot he placed ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil, without saying a word. The daughter impatiently waited, wondering what her father was doing.
In about 20 minutes, he turned off the burners. He fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them a bowl. Then he ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.
Turning to his daughter, he asked, “What do you see?” “Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied. He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg inside. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. She smiled as she tasted its rich flavor and smelled its wonderful aroma.
She humbly asked. “What does it mean, Father?” He explained that each of these three items had faced the same adversity, boiling water, but each reacted differently.
The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. But 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 in the boiling water, its inside became hard.
The ground coffee beans were very unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
“Which are you,” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”
So, which one are you?
I share this story often with my clients simply because I see it as a great tool to use when you find yourself in crisis, feeling fearful, lonely, or simply just frustrated. When I share this story, I often use it as a redirection tool and to help raise awareness about the choices we all have in how we respond to challenges, obstacles and adversity.
Life happens; adversity is unavoidable, your well-being and your self-empowerment are directly tied to how you respond to the challenges of the moment.
So, which one are you going to be the next time you are faced with an obstacle, challenge or simply when you are frustrated?