I think I’m a Coffee Bean, but I have been a carrot and an egg.

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life, and how things were so hard for her. Things were not going well, and she wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first pot, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She turned on the stove to boil without saying a word. In about twenty minutes 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 mug.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me what do you see?” “Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” the daughter replied. The mother brought her daughter closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they got soft. She then asked her to take the egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to smell and sip the coffee. The daughter smiled, as she smelled and tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, “What’s the point, mother?” Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same significant adversity: boiling water. However, 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 interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were quite unique. After they were in the boiling water, they actually changed the water.

“Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When trials and adversity knock on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

The carrot seems strong, but with pain and adversity, wilts, becomes soft, and loses strength. The egg starts with a passive heart, but changes with the heat. It has a fluid spirit, but after a hardship, becomes hardened and stiff. The coffee 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 carrot – you weaken with adversity and are unable to stand up to the challenge.

If you are like the egg, you – you become hard inside, and lose all compassion and understanding.

If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you become better and change the situation around you.

Many have circulated this wonderful story, author unknown. It is certainly worth sharing.  

In reality, there are probably elements of the egg, carrot and coffee bean in all of us. I know I’ve been in situations where I was a carrot and an egg. However, since experiencing rather difficult challenges, I now see myself as a coffee bean – someone who has been able to change for the better.

Circumstances and dynamics may dictate how we respond to a particular situation. However, with freedom of choice, we can all strive to remain true to our nature and respond to any situation based on our values.

At Amovita we can support you as you, individually and as an organisation, as you go through changes, challenges or face difficult circumstances. Our Employee Counselling, Professional Supervision and Team Development Programs, coupled with our Mediation, Assertiveness and Communications 101 training programs can give you the tools and strategies you need to be the coffee bean.

Contact us today if you would like more information about these and other Amovita Services.