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Carrots, eggs, and coffee

What can a carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee teach a young woman tired of fighting and struggling with adversity and heartaches? Read on and find out the lesson the young woman received from her mother.


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 when 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 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 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.

However, the ground coffee beans were unique. 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 a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other 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?

Author Unknown

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Arnold July 24, 2016, 12:44 pm

    Good inspiration

  • Kimia April 30, 2014, 6:01 am

    Great story. Fantastic.

  • David March 11, 2013, 9:33 pm

    Beautiful story.

  • Aayesha.M December 7, 2012, 7:37 am

    Good story.

    This story was told me by my mother till I heard this story I was like carrot only after that I am trying to be like a coffee.

    Thanks for sharing the stories with us hope this story will change atleast 10% of the people.

  • Ralph Jude (Nigeria) October 13, 2012, 1:07 am

    Nice one***

    When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.

  • Black Fox September 27, 2012, 4:35 am

    In the same environment, some retreat, some grow strong. Great people not only strong on their own but also guide their friends to become stronger!

  • Amy July 22, 2012, 3:39 am

    If I were like the egg/carrot now, how can I make myself like the coffee?

  • Aditi Tripathi July 15, 2012, 5:11 am

    Very nice story, I wanna be the coffee.

  • Heavenzgurl July 10, 2012, 3:29 am

    Be like the coffee and let other people smell your aroma that they, too, could be able to act like such, and then others may smell them, too (pass it on)

  • Sandy July 9, 2012, 4:35 am

    Awesome story. Ya be like coffee.

  • Niki July 5, 2012, 11:28 pm

    Meaningful, true and apt

  • Queen July 3, 2012, 4:06 pm

    Good one.

  • VISHU July 3, 2012, 3:09 am

    O wow..!!! It is an amazing story…

  • Deepi June 22, 2012, 9:54 am

    Lovely story, I too want to be a coffee only….

  • Pooja Juyal June 22, 2012, 8:06 am

    Thanx to publishers. And definitely want to become coffee only. Very inspiring and motivational story which we often see and meet in our kitchen.

  • Arindam June 22, 2012, 3:00 am

    Nice One..

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