Burdened by life’s pressures and problems, a young lady sought out her mom and with teary eyes, poured herself out. Life for her had been nothing but a series of painful experiences. She couldn’t make out where her life was going, and she was tired of fighting. She was in the verge of just giving up.
Her mother listened to her quietly. After she finished talking, her mother led her to the kitchen and asked her to simply sit down and be patient. Then the mother poured some water into three pots which she put over burners on high fire. After a short while, the water in all the three pots were boiling.
In the first pot, she placed carrots, in the second a piece of egg, and in the third she poured some ground coffee beans. Silently, she allowed the water in the pots to continue to boil for around 20 minutes more. Then she put off the burners.
She pulled the carrot and the egg out of their pots then placed them on a plate. From the third pot, she ladled coffee out and placed it in a cup. All these she brought to the table where the daughter was sitting, and with a smile asked her daughter “What do you see?”
Looking puzzled, the daughter softly replied “Carrots, egg and coffee.”
Her mother invited her to feel the carrots and as she did so, she said “These have become soft.”
The mother invited her next to break the egg. After the outer shell was removed what was left was a hard-boiled egg.
Lastly, the mother asked her to take a sip from the cup of coffee. As she raised the cup to her lips, she could not help but smell the rich aroma of the coffee. After she put down the cup, she looked inquisitively at her mother and asked, “What is this all about, Mother?”
“I just showed you different objects that went through the same process, the same adversity, that is the boiling water,” the mother explained. “But each had a totally different reaction.”
“The carrot had been hard, strong and unrelenting before, but the boiling water made it soft and weak.
“The egg was liquid, fragile and soft inside but after 20 minutes of boiling, it hardened.”
“But the ground coffee bean was special. Because of the process, the coffee bean changed the boiling water into which it was thrown, giving it an aromatic, tasteful flavor.”
“Which one are you?” the mother asked. “When difficulties come, how do you behave? Like a carrot? Like an egg? Or like a coffee bean?
This is something each one of us has to decide for himself or herself:
Am I like the carrot which is strong and rigid, but which wilts and weakens in the face of adversity?
Or am I like an egg which is soft and malleable inside, but which which hardens under intense heat?
Or am I like the coffee bean which uses the intense heat, the very cause of the adversity, in order to improve the water surrounding it; releasing from within it the flavor and aroma that changes the water into something everybody enjoys and benefits from?
Sickness, death of a loved one, relationship problems, financial hardship come into everyone’s life and there’s no avoiding them. Different people have different ways of reacting to them.
Happy and blessed people are not the ones who get the best in life; they are the ones who make the best of what life brings them. And, they are those who emerge out of life’s challenges as better, stronger human beings.
Napoleon Hill left us this thought to ponder: “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”