[I've posted this to uk.misc as well, apologies to people who see it twice as a result.]
ADVERSITY CAN BREW ITS OWN REWARDS
A friend from Europe sent me the below story which I would like to share. It struck me as particularly appropriate for this time of year; we're all scurrying with year-end activities at work and at home. It involves a chef father trying to help his teenage daughter overcome the stresses and adversities of her life.
This father took his daughter into his kitchen and placed three pots of water on three burners. As he turned up the heat under the pots, he added a carrot to one pot, an egg to another, and a coffee bean to the third.
After letting the food boil for a time he removed the contents of each pot and asked his daughter what she saw. The father then explained:
The carrot had gone into the water rigid but came out soft. The egg stayed hard in the water, but when the father broke it open, he showed his daughter how it was now hard on the inside. In the third pot, the water had become a steamy aromatic brew of coffee.
All three of these foods faced the same boiling water, the father explained, but they all reacted differently. The carrot went in hard and unrelenting. The vegetable was reduced to softness by the heat. The egg went in fragile with a thin shell protecting its soft center. The water left the egg hard on the inside. The coffee bean was unique, however. The bean changed the water. "Which food do you want to be when adversity knocks?" The father asked the daughter.
I challenge you to answer this question for yourself. When the stakes are high and times are challenging and the hand you've been dealt is a difficult one, do you go in rigid like the carrot, only to be made soft and meek in the end? Do you go in like the egg with a frail shell that's only protecting a soft heart? Were you fluid inside, but once adversity arose you became stiff and hard on the inside? Or like the bean, do you affect the situation you're in and make it better? The funny thing about the bean is that not only does it affect its surrounding -- to a great extent the hotter the water is, the better the coffee will taste.
We all face challenges -- in our jobs, our families and even our communities. Yet, how we react under adversity determines not only our quality of life, but the quality of life of those around us. I'm always inspired by this story to remember the reaction of the coffee bean. When times are tough, we can take the opportunity to affect a positive change for ourselves and those around us. It is often during the most trying times that we can shine the brightest. What an amazing opportunity we have with every challenge we face!
I hope you take some time, maybe even over a cup of coffee, to think about how you want to react to life's trials. Until then, keep brewing your finest.