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Potato, Coffee, and Eggs – Which Are You?

Written by Siddhi Latey (Weloquent)

Once upon a time a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it. She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed.

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot, and ground coffee beans in the third pot.

He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter. The daughter moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing.

After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.

He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup. Turning to her he asked. “Daughter, what do you see?”

“Potatoes, eggs, and coffee,” she hastily replied.

“Look closer,” he said, “and touch the potatoes.” She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.

“Father, what does this mean?” she asked.

He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity– the boiling water.

However, each one reacted differently.

The potato went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak.

The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard.

However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.

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

Moral: The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg

The story of potatoes, eggs, and coffee encourages us to make the most of our experiences without allowing challenges to dampen our spirits. It is the highs and lows of life that enrich human experiences - without experiencing the lows, one cannot appreciate the highs. All said and done, it isn’t easy to retain this optimism when facing adversity, and so we’ve listed some ways in which you can stay hopeful in trying times:-

Acknowledge that Failure is Learning

Discouragement follows when we believe that we have failed. However, failure is simply not getting the desired result. Consider it as feedback on the actions undertaken. When such an instance occurs, one ought to explore a different route to get to their destination. Failure makes room for new experiments. When we think of setbacks with this renewed understanding, we can overcome them better by making note of what could be changed.

Remember Why You Started

Dreams are a window to exploring possibilities and so when you feel like quitting, remember why you started. It is easy to be consumed by misery and lose hope in the face of adversity. However, challenges are temporary whereas your success will have a lasting impact on your life. When you recall your motivation, it helps you persist for longer.   

Explore Creative Solutions

Some of the most imminent creators of all time have acknowledged that overcoming adversity and using their negative experiences, inspired their work. Adversities challenge you to think of solutions outside of your comfort zone. And so, demanding as it might sound, embrace adversity as it breeds creativity.    

Don’t Compare Your Success

Everyone is on their unique journey to success. However, when you compare yourself to others, you are bound to feel discouraged. The problem lies herein: victories are often viewed in a single-dimension. We don’t see successful people when they were struggling, or afraid, and were failing. Therefore, instead of feeling inspired by their successes, we often feel that we are lacking. So, we must stop comparing ourselves to others and focus on our path.

Accept that Life is a Mystery

When you are in a spot, you might often think, “Why me?” However, accepting our situation helps us work on making it better. Although navigating your way through challenges can feel exhausting, the truth is that life throws a curveball along every individual’s path. The problems faced by each person might be different, but to each, their problem appears monumental. Accept that all you can do is take one day at a time and focus on developing strategies that help you to move forward.

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