How Do You Handle Adversity? Are you a Carrot, an Egg or a Coffee Bean?

How do you handle Adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean? The story of the carrot, egg, and coffee bean is well-known; for those who have already heard about it, read it again, it is worth it and for those who are hearing it for the first time, you will enjoy it. It is a story about perspective, adversity, and freedom to choose how you react to things happening in your life because there are always two sides to every coin; your perspective is your reality.

Full credit for this article should be given to the author of this story who is unknown; I am taking you to my kitchen table today to serve you this story because those words of wisdom are worth spreading. Everyone wants to gain wisdom. Wisdom is one of the greatest qualities that human beings can possess. So, seek it, hold on to it and treasure it. Why? Because it will help you navigate through choppy waters, it will lift you up from the depths of despair, it will help you put everything into perspective, and ultimately it will turn you into the hero of your own story.

How Do you handle adversity? Are you a Carrot, an Egg, or a Coffee bean?

How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, and egg or a coffee bean? Photo by Stoccking via

The story is set at home in the family kitchen, where mother and daughter are having a chat. Mother is really happy to see her daughter who recently left the family nest to do her thing and live her life in the big wide world. But the daughter is feeling quite unhappy at the moment, being an adult and being responsible for your own decisions and your own life happened to be much harder than she expected. She didn’t know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of struggling and fighting. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.

Her mother listened to the tale of her daughter’s demise, and at the end of the tale, she filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last one, she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word waiting for the water to boil; twenty minutes later 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. She ladled the coffee into a cup.

Turning to her daughter, she asked: “Tell me what you see?” “Carrots, eggs, and coffee” she replied. The mother brought her daughter closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She 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’s the point, 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 went in as fragile, with only a thin outer shell to protect its liquid interior. But, after being through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however, because as they were in the boiling water, they changed the water.

How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, and egg or a coffee bean? Photo by Stoccking via

“Which are you? she asked the daughter. When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean? Are you the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do you become soft and lose your strength? Are you the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Do you have a fluid spirit, but after a break-up, a financial hardship, or some other trial, have you become hardened and stiff? Does your shell look the same, but on the inside are you bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart? Or are you 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 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?

How Do you handle adversity? The moral of the story

Life is often difficult. It can be harsh, stressful, and feel like a pot of boiling water. The environments we find ourselves in can change, weaken, or harden us, and test what we are made of. We can be like the carrot that weakens in the pot or like the egg that hardens. Or we can be like the coffee bean and discover the power inside us to transform our environment.

Things are never as bad as they seem and they are never as great either. Maintaining our perspective on things helps us overcome adversity even if we struggle. Life is not made of butterflies and rainbows. It is made of a whole bunch of things. Sometimes it is sunny and sometimes it is rainy.

Talking about rain, I take this opportunity to share with you my youngest daughter’s latest YouTube Video – Don’t Rain on my Parade

“Some people feel the rain, others just get wet.”

Bob Marley

You need the rain to make you appreciate the sunny days better and when it rains, instead of letting the grey sky gets to you, choose instead to dance in the rain, or in this case, make and drink the coffee.

Talking about coffee, my eldest Maya wrote a blog article a while ago titled Things to be Grateful For and she makes reference in her article of the book Thanks a Thousand written by A.J. Jacobs who wrote an entire book based on the idea that the little things in our lives aren’t so little. Thanks a Thousand tells the story of Jacob’s mission to thank everyone who was involved in making a small, but important part of his life: his morning cup of coffee. His quest took him months to complete and had him flying across the entire globe to thank delivery drivers, factory workers, bean farmers, and everyone in between. His story is an inspiring one and is a great example of how beneficial showing gratitude can be, and what we also have to take away is the intricate and detailed process it took to make Jacobs’ cup of coffee and the same process is true for every other little luxury of modern-day life.

So, the moral of the story is, when adversity is knocking at your door, make yourself a cup of coffee and be grateful for all the little things that made it possible for you to enjoy that cup of coffee.

Joanne Reed

And this, my dear friend, is Your Quest.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on

How To Define Success?

Christopher Isaac “Biz” Stone is the Co-Founder of Twitter, who once said: “Timing, perseverance and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.” But, how to define success? Is it a fluid concept? Well, I guess it depends a lot on who you are and what you want to achieve in life.

Being rich and famous would, you’d expect, put you in the category of those who made it to the top. However, if you look behind the glitz and showbiz appearance and behind the mansion’s door, what you’d see doesn’t always look like success. There are a lot of rich and famous people who are utterly miserable and unhappy. So, what’s the deal?

This article is my attempt to dig a little deeper into the subject and look at success from a different perspective.

Success Is an Iceberg

We have a tendency to describe certain successful people as lucky because they just happened to be born with a talent (that eludes the rest of us), and that talent and maybe a certain amount of luck, is what ultimately made them succeed. Certainly, talent and luck play a role, but if we look a little closer, we will find out, as Thomas Edison famously said, that “success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”

Success is an iceberg. What people see on the surface: confidence, wealth, beauty, relationships, seniority, often don’t see what is hiding below: persistence, failure, sacrifice, disappointment, good habits, hard work and dedication. This is beautifully depicted by @sylviaduckworth.

Success is an Iceberg

Success is About Overcoming Adversity

Most people fantasize about being, successful, rich or famous, they want the outcome but are not so keen on the perspiration-part.

The motivational speaker Les Brown was very eloquent when he spoke about struggle and adversity. What he explained in one of his memorable motivational speeches is that one of the greatest tragedies of our time is the way we perceive success:

“that is the belief that successful people just happened to be successful because they were lucky enough to have been born with some talent and that talent is what go them there, and destiny is what brough them to the finishing line.

That belief is wrong, because that kind of thinking takes the journey, the struggles to get to the top of the mountain and the setbacks and the pain and the fear and throws is all out of the window.

It completely mitigates what is most important.

In the real world, it doesn’t matter who you are. You are never entitled to a result. Victory is a product of the fight and the biggest favor you can do yourself is to progress through life’s ups and down and keep fighting the fight.

Struggle is perfection in progress. It is a sign that you are in the midst of what separates the great from the average. It is a necessity and it the most important step you will ever take, because 99% of people cannot see past it. The world sees struggle and hardship as the time to pack their bags, to walk away, to be intimidated.”

According to Marcus Aurelius, the personification of the Stoic Movement, “our actions may be impeded, but there can be no impeding our intentions or dispositions. The Obstacle is the way.”

Success Is a Boat with a Captain and a Crew

Society measures success in material goods or status, but this is a very shallow and narrow definition of success, there is a lot more to it than that. Earl Nightingale also known as the Dean of Personal Development spent some time thinking about what success is and he came up with a pretty good definition of success: “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or idea.” It means that any person regularly engaged in achieving something which they consider worthy is successful.

Earl Nightingale uses an analogy of a boat to explain this concept further:

“Without goals, you can spend a lifetime wandering aimlessly, letting yourself being carried in any direction that the crowds take you. Think of a ship in a harbor. There is a captain and there is a crew. Together they map the journey. They decide what route they are going to take, how long it will take, how many provisions they will have to take.  They make preparation for the voyage. This ship has a destination and will sail straight across the deep ocean of life reaching one port after another and it will get to its destination.”

Take another ship where there is no captain, no crew, no destination, and no preparation, this ship will likely end up nowhere, it may not even leave the port, or it may leave the port and be shipwrecked. Ultimately that ship is unlikely to succeed because it has no destination, no guidance, and it is the same with human beings.

To succeed on the deep ocean of your life remember to stay calm. Calmness is absolute confidence to be able to meet any crisis. The person who is calm has their course of life clearly marked on their chart. They have their hands on the helm and whether there is a storm or danger ahead, they are ready.

I am the Captain of my Ship

When and how you will reach your destination doesn’t matter. Focus on the process and not always on the outcome and follow the advice of Maya Angelou:

“Do the best you can every day … until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

Success Is a Garden

To succeed, everything starts with an idea. “Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds, you can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.”

You need to know what you want to be and what you want to do. All you have to do is plant that seed in your mind and care for it by working steadily towards your goal and be sufficiently strong enough not to let setbacks defeat you in the accomplishment of your purpose.

“As you sow, so shall you reap” – Galatians, 6:7

The moment you start working on your goals, you are immediately a successful person, because you now belong to the very small percentage of people who know where they are going.

How to Define Success?

So, in summary, how to define success? Success is:

  • Success is an Iceberg.
  • Success is a boat with a captain and a crew.
  • Success is a garden.
  • Success is a schoolteacher because they want to be a teacher and feels a calling to be a teacher.
  • Success is a student who goes to school every day wanting to learn and develop themselves academically, physically, emotionally and socially by achieving good grades, by joining a sports team, by interacting with their friends and teachers in the pursuit of excellence with a caring attitude.
  • Success is a wife and mother because she wants to be a wife and mother dedicating herself to be the best wife and mother she can be.
  • Success is the working mother who dedicates herself to her professional career and also to raising her children (with some help) and doing both to the best of her abilities.
  • Success is a salesman who wants to become the top salesperson in his company and helps grow his organization.
  • Success is the corner shop owner who serves his community every day and who always wanted to have his own corner shop.
  • Success is the stay-at-home father who dedicates himself to raising his family whilst allowing his wife to pursue her career and being a supportive partner for his spouse.
  • Success is the family member who turned themselves into the main caregiver for a sick child, parent, or spouse dedicating their time to making that person’s day better.
  • Success is anyone who is deliberately doing a pre-determined job because they decided to do just that.

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For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on