Sometimes a simple story like this can help us see things in a new light and help us overcome our internal struggles.
Once upon a time a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and dreary. She grumbled that she was tired of fighting and struggling all the time and not getting anywhere. It seemed that life was just one problem after another.
Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot, and ground coffee beans in the third pot. He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter.
The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing.
After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them a bowl. He then poured the coffee out and placed it in a mug.
Turning to her he asked. “Daughter, what do you see?”
“Potatoes, eggs, and coffee,” she hastily replied.
“Look closer”, he said, “and touch the potatoes.” 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.
Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma and warmth brought a smile to her face.
“Father, what does this mean?” she asked.
He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity — the boiling water. However, each one reacted differently.
The potato went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak.
The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water, then the inside of the egg became hard.
However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.
“Which are you,” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean?”
In life, things happen around us, things happen to us, but the thing that truly matters is what happens within us.
We have the power to choose new ways of responding to life in any moment.
So, which one are you? And which one will you choose today?
p.s If you liked this story you may also like this blog about overcoming negative thinking and another related post about using mindfulness to work skilfully with difficult emotions.