Facing Adversity

While doing some email clean-up, I bumped into this article which I received over five years ago. While the author is unknown, I give the full credit to him or her for this very inspiring story, which generally talks about perspective on how adversity affects you as a person. Will unfavorable circumstances change you or will you make the situation different?

The story goes like this:

A young woman was telling her mother how she was faced with many difficulties in life and that she was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed that as one problem was solved, a new one arose. All she wanted to do was to give up.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first pot, she placed carrots. In the second, she placed eggs. And in the last, she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and 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 bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, “What does it mean, mother?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity… boiling water. 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 unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

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

Think of this: Which am I?

Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after facing a trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The 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 bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?

How do you handle adversity?

Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy. Remember that the happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.

About the Contributor


Rhea Angeline is a Certified Public Accountant who is currently employed as a Finance Specialist in Unilab. On the side, she leads a group of women at church with the main purpose of teaching, encouraging and inspiring them about life in general, at the same time learning too. Funny side about her: she is an admin of Team Jheck, a fan-page of a celebrity volleyball player, Jheck Dionela and is the appointed president of Philippine Single Association (PSA), a group created by “single” bloggers just for fun. She loves to travel the world. Books and korean shows are her best buddies during her “me” time.

For more of her works, visit her blog.

Artwork by Jan Carlo Ramos. for more of his work, visit his Instagram.

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4 Thoughts

  1. Cool read, thank you!

    #MyConquest #ToBeTheCoffee

    1. Thanks for the read. I inspires me as well. 🙂

    2. Thanks for the read. It inspires me as well. 🙂