There’s an old story about carrots, eggs and coffee beans that I would like to share with you. The lesson this story teaches about adversity is timeless. It’s an important lesson to remember both in business and in personal life.
A young woman went to her mother and explained that life was very hard for her. She was tired of fighting and struggling. Her mother took her to the kitchen and filled three pots with water and placed them on the stove to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. Twenty minutes later, she fished out the carrots and placed them in a bowl. Then, she pulled out the eggs and placed them in another bowl. Finally she placed the coffee in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked “Tell me what you see”. “Carrots, eggs, and coffee”, she replied.
Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She 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 tasted its richness and savored its aroma. The daughter then asked to her mother: “What does it mean?” The mother explained that each of these objects faced the same adversity: boiling water, and each reacted differently.
The carrot went in strong and hard. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.
The egg had been fragile. Its thin external shell protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.
The ground coffee beans were unique. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
“Which one of these 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?”
Think of this:
Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat?
Am I the coffee bean? The bean 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 like the bean, when things are at their worst, you become even better and change the situation around you.