Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Coffee With A Professor

--by jojomcb, posted May 19, 2008
A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite -- telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones.  While it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.  The cup itself doesn't add to the quality to the coffee and in some cases even hides what we drink and yet you consciously went for the best looking cups."

Then, he began eyeing each other's cups.
With compassion, he added, "Life is like coffee.  The jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of Life we live.  While you pursue the fine cups, be sure to keep focus on enjoying the coffee!"
14.3K Reads

Readers Comments

ninu wrote: i heard this many diff way..and story ..but everytime i read this energise me more than before...thanks a lots
lovebug wrote: I don't know what my cup looks like, I did not think about looking at it. But I know it is over flowing, I might need that saucer dish.
barryg wrote: drinking a cup of cofee will never be the same. Thank you.
Vuyo wrote: Good Story, it makes sense!
Joanne wrote: So true... so true... I waitress right now and often feel judged by society -- actually last week a man at the golf course, after finding out that I used to work for an investment firm for 8 years said to me very sarcastically, "Wow... this is a real step up for you" as I stood there holding a coffee pot. (Ironic I guess that I was holding a coffee pot) Anyhow, I could have let it get to me -- but why? Just because HE judges me? I made a couple of joking comparisons about waitressing and investments which got a laugh out of the men, smiled and walked away... proud to be the fabulous waitress that I am! I'll take that metaphor a step further... I don't only enjoy the coffee -- I serve it up to others!!
cinnamonhead wrote: love this story, really makes you think.
Lambchop wrote: Never heard this story before but I really think that I needed to. We put so much emphasis on what we have and not on the quality of life that we can share with others. Lambchop
BigRedClown wrote: brilliant Joanne!! Yes, we can find our life's purpose, or else great meaning in HOW we do things as suppose to simply *what we do. I like ur attitude too about not feeling bad by others judging you :0)

nidhena wrote: I like this a lot, it's a very apt metaphor. Thanks!

Add A Comment