Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Are You a Carrot, an Egg or a Coffee Bean?

--by iferlamb, posted Mar 22, 2010

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 if as soon as one problem was solved a new one arose.  Her mother took her to the kitchen.

The mother filled three pots with water.

In the first, she placed carrots.
In the second she placed eggs.
And the last she placed ground coffee beans.

She let them sit and boil without saying a word.  About twenty minutes later, 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 said, "Tell me what you see."

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied. (You know the tone of voice.)

She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did, and noted that they felt soft.  She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg inside.  Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee.  The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.  The daughter then asked, "So, what's the point, mother?" (Remember the tone of voice.)

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 center. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its insides had become 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?"

Which am I?

Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt
and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat?  Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial
hardship, or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff?  Does my outer shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean?  The bean actually changes the hot water - the very circumstances that bring the pain.  When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor of the bean.  If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you instead of letting it change you.

When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level?

How do you handle Adversity?


by Mary Sullivan

16.7K Reads

Readers Comments

unknown wrote: 1st choice:carrot 2nd choice:carrot 3rd choice:carrot,jk this is a very good story thanks a lot for the motivation
diane wrote: From all the sources i can find this writing is attributed to "unknown" can you please advise if you are indeed the original author, thanks
Radha wrote: I asbolutley love this and have shared this witgh all my work colleagues! . I think it give you a little perspective.
nartey harrison wrote: This is too powerful a revealation with a deep insight brought to bare.
ty wrote: Thank you very much,i have read it now.

Joyce wrote: 1st choice-coffee
2nd choice-egg
3rd choice-carrot
Heather wrote: I think the other point about facing adversity is having people around you who can support you through the time of adversity - ie the mother. I have got to the age now (50) where my friends are my family and i treasure them deeply so although i know it's down to me how i face up to things i know that i can have someone with me if i need them.
ivavava wrote: Simple and brilliant!
Heika wrote: Very nice story. I am working as a trainer and run leaderdship development programmes. This story is so good, i think i might share it with participants on our classes.

It might also make a beautifyul gift to a friend: together with a package of coffee beans. Thanks for the indpiration!
PittsbrghSam wrote: A very wise way to look at life. Remember "adversity is god's university! " he's trying to teach us something while he helps us along the way.

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