What will you be like this week a carrot, egg or coffee beans?
Longer than my usual Spiral Daily, but love this parable, author unknown.
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 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 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 out the carrots and placed them in a bowl. She pulled out the eggs and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled out the coffee and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me what 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 richness and savored its 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 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 like a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?”
The best questions foster understanding, spark innovation, diffuse negative conflict, and build influence – Spiral Daily poses one question each work day.
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