A young woman told her grandmother how life was hard. She was tired of struggling and wanted to give up.

Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She set them to boil without saying a word. Twenty minutes later she turned off the burners and placed each item in individual bowls.

The old woman asked her granddaughter to feel the carrots. They were soft and mushy. She asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she saw the egg had hardened. Finally, the granddaughter sipped the water with the beans, which was now coffee. She smiled at the flavor. “But what’s the point, Grandma?”

“Each of these objects had faced the same adversity — boiling water — but each reacted differently,” said the old lady. The carrot went in strong and unrelenting; it became weak. The egg’s thin, outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, it became hardened. The ground coffee, however, was unique. It changed the water.

“Which are you?” she asked her granddaughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond?”

So ask yourself. Are you a carrot that seems strong? But with pain and adversity, do you wilt and lose your strength? Are you the egg that starts with a fluid spirit but, after trials, becomes hardened and stiff?

Or are you like the coffee bean? The ground coffee actually changes the hot water — the very circumstance that brings the adversity, the pain, the hardship — into something quite wonderful. In fact, when the water gets hot, it releases the bean’s fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better, and change the situation around you for the better.

Are you a carrot, egg, or coffee bean?

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