In The Face of Adversity

By Daniella Aryeh, Guest Blogger September 12, 2015

One day, a young woman who we’ll call Penelope went to visit her grandmother. Penelope began telling her grandmother about her life and how she was struggling. Penelope did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of the constant struggle. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Penelope’s grandmother got up, walked into the kitchen, and 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, eggs, and coffee, and put them in three separate bowls. Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, “What do you see?”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” Penelope replied.

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Her grandmother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. Penelope noted that they were soft. She then asked her granddaughter to take an egg and break it.  After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, the grandmother asked Penelope to sip the coffee. Penelope smiled as she tasted its richness. Penelope then asked,“Grandma, what does this mean?”

Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water, and 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?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond?

A friend of mine posted this story on Facebook, and it really spoke volumes to me. Personally, I have been going through a lot of change recently, and it’s been rough. Between moving away from home for the first time in years, to being a new grad school graduate trying to find a job, it’s been challenging. But this story made me think.

So, when facing adversity, ask yourself: 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? Do 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 become even better and change the situation around you.

Honestly, sometimes I am a little bit of everything. I react differently with different challenges. Sometimes I feel like a situation may break me, while other times I feel like I come out stronger.

When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?

Let’s Chat!

How do you handle adversity? Tell us below!

About Daniella

DANIELLA_ARYEH_writer_bio.jpgDaniella is a certified speech language pathologist living in NY. She loves traveling, meeting new people, hanging on the beach, and will read anything she can get her hands on. She is obsessed with country music, and is constantly quoting Friends and One Tree Hill.


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