Yesterday, I shared a post with you about obstacles and opportunities. I shared with you how every obstacle can be seen as an opportunity for success if you just change your mindset. When it comes to happiness, this same approach holds true.
I found this great story I wanted to share with you. It looks at how your view of things affects your happiness. Read the story and ask yourself, “Am I a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”
The carrot, the egg, and the coffee bean
A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling.
It seemed that, as one problem was solved, a new one arose. 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, 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,” the young woman replied. The mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her 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 – but 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?” the mother 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 a death, a breakup, or a financial hardship, does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a 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 flavour.
If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?
Anything and everything that happens in our life goes through a filter in our mind. That filter tells us whether we see something as good or something as bad. Sure there are things that happen that most people consider bad. Death of a loved one, experiencing a significant injury, or a major break up all fit into the general category of “bad”, and rightfully so. What I want to challenge you to do is to push yourself to be optimistic. You don’t have to view these kind of things as good, but you can look for and create some good from the bad.
Every bad thing that happens in our lives is an opportunity for us to do some good. It’s when we take the bad things in our lives and pull the good out of them that we can begin to heal and find the happiness we’re searching to find. It’s okay to be sad or down when something “bad” happens. Just don’t let it pull you down for too long. Be the coffee bean. Bounce back, do some good, and seize the happiness you deserve.