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Carrot, Egg, or Coffee

February 18, 2010

The other day I was having some study time within my office when I came across a pretty good story that caught my attention. I love reading stories that tell of a deep, yet simple principle. I mean, after all, my favorite stories are in the Bible. I guess you could say I’m a story-reader and a story-teller. Even Jesus when he wanted to convey a profound truth to the multitudes or to His disciples, he would stop and tell them a ‘simple story’. There’s just something about reading a good story that beats a movie any day. Now, I usually don’t post up the whole story, maybe a quote or two from it, but I liked this one. I think it will really make someone think. I know it did with me. So here you go. The Carrot, the Egg, or the Coffee. Enjoy:

A daughter complained to her father about life and how hard things are for her. She said she wanted to give up as she was tired of struggling. For just as one problem was solved, another arose.

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen, filled three pots with water and placed the fire on high.

Soon the three pots came to a boil. In one he placed carrots, in the other he placed eggs and in the last he placed ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil, without saying a word. The daughter wondered what he was trying to do.

In half an hour he turned down the fire and took out the contents of the pots and put them in bowls. Turning to her he said, “My dear child, what do you see?” Smartly she replied, “Carrots, eggs and coffee.”

He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After shelling it, she observed it was hard-boiled now. Finally, he asked her to take a sip of the fragrant coffee. She winced as it was very strong.

Humbly, she asked, “What does it mean father?” He explained, “Each of them faced the same adversity, 100oC of boiling water. However, each reacted differently. The carrot was strong, hard and unrelenting. But, after going through boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg was fragile. A thin outer shell protected a liquid centre. But after sitting in the boiling water, the inside became hardened. However, the coffee beans are unique. After they were in the boiling water, they became stronger and richer. Which one of these are you?” he asked.

Are you the carrot that seems hard but with the smallest amount of pain, adversity or heat, you wilt and become soft with no strength? Are you the egg, which starts off with a malleable heart? But after a death, breakup, divorce or layoff become hardened and stiff? Your shell looks the same but you are bitter and tough inside. Or are you like the coffee bean? The bean does not get its true flavour until it reaches 100oC. When the water gets hotter, it just tastes better. When things are at their worst, you get better.

So, my question to you today is:  how do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

– Esteban Pineda

One Comment leave one →
  1. Robert Brian permalink
    March 1, 2010 11:58 pm

    Awesome! Totally a great illustration I could hear you using with your “Gold or Brass” message!

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