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Carrot, egg, or bean? - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
Carrot, egg, or bean?
This missive came in all seriousness from our uber-Boss in the States. I felt I should share its, er, inspiring and motivational message with a wider audience. Watch out for the carrot.

[I've posted this to uk.misc as well, apologies to people who see it twice as a result.]


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.

Current Mood: egg-like

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bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: December 10th, 2003 02:33 am (UTC) (Link)
And now all I can think of are those coffee beans that are rumoured to pass through the digestive system of a cat (lynx?) before coffee is made out of them. Is that perhaps something to do with the underlying message? ;-)
imc From: imc Date: December 10th, 2003 03:19 am (UTC) (Link)
The civet cat, I believe.
marnameow From: marnameow Date: December 12th, 2003 02:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Who is not an sctual cat, I think, but a mongoose-ish creature.
acronym From: acronym Date: December 10th, 2003 02:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Your boss is full of it. (This may connect to what bopeepsheep says above). Also, that company is shafted. "Adversity is a challenge!" means "We're heading for adversity. You're all stuffed."

Additionally, since when is being meek/gentle a bad thing? I'd *love* to be those, and I usually try to be!
angoel From: angoel Date: December 10th, 2003 03:37 am (UTC) (Link)
He missed out the option of those cubes that make jelly.

Mmm. Jelly.
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: December 10th, 2003 04:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Not even a particularly interesting piece of glurge, is it?

And all it left me thinking was "that's not how you make coffee".
From: kaet Date: December 10th, 2003 05:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Only the egg leaves the boiling water in a state where it can be used to make tea, so that gets my vote.
imc From: imc Date: December 10th, 2003 07:16 am (UTC) (Link)
You make tea with tea bags, not eggs.

(Oh. I see. I'd rather have some fresh water though, thanks.)
From: kaet Date: December 10th, 2003 07:21 am (UTC) (Link)

You make tea with tea bags, not eggs.

(Oh. I see. I'd rather have some fresh water though, thanks.)

Me too, which is one of the reasons why I baulk at adding perforated bleached paper to boiling water, :). Eggs, though, I agree, are deprecated, :).
jiggery_pokery From: jiggery_pokery Date: December 10th, 2003 08:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Uberboss probably paid someone thousands of dollars to write that for them, too. *sob*
j4 From: j4 Date: December 10th, 2003 08:33 am (UTC) (Link)
I hadn't thought of that! I sort of assumed he'd written it himself, because he's a lunatic & it's the sort of lunacy he'd concoct. If someone got paid for that, that's just gutting. :-/ I could write that kind of drivel in my sleep, FFS.

I wonder if there's any mileage in trying to put together a book of "fairytales for managers"? D'you think it'd sell?
angoel From: angoel Date: December 11th, 2003 12:32 am (UTC) (Link)
I think you need a better title, but yes, it will ;)
imc From: imc Date: December 10th, 2003 09:16 am (UTC) (Link)
There are hundreds of twee stories just like this one floating about on the Internet. There are almost certainly dozens of mailing lists where this sort of thing flies back and forth and hordes of mindless but happy email junkies bask in the warm glow of a platitude well said.

Perhaps Über-Boss is on one of these lists. Why pay for something that floats freely through the æther looking for vacant minds?
j4 From: j4 Date: December 10th, 2003 09:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Because vacant minds of the managerial variety don't know that stories like this are two-a-penny, and besides, something you have to pay for will automatically be better than some bit of free rubbish off the internet...? :)

(I did google for this story, incidentally -- not a sausage.)
imc From: imc Date: December 10th, 2003 09:35 am (UTC) (Link)
(I did google for this story, incidentally -- not a sausage.)

We're looking for carrots, not sausages (that's a whole 'nother innuendo).

You surprise me. I found a whole page of them. One of them even has a named author.
jiggery_pokery From: jiggery_pokery Date: December 10th, 2003 04:58 pm (UTC) (Link)


Suddenly I want to know what happens to handbags and cheese when you boil them in water too. I would imagine the latter makes really, really bad fondue and the former just makes a really clean handbag, but those are just guesses.
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