I love those graphic simple lessons that come around from unknown authors into our inbox and leave their mark in our memories for a life time.

The story goes as follows:

A young woman went to her grandmother 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 through life. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her grandmother 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 cup. Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, “Tell me what you see.”

hard-boiled-eggs-horiz-800images7777777777Steaming hot coffee being poured

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

Her grandmother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The grandmother then asked the granddaughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, the grandmother asked the granddaughter to sip the coffee. The granddaughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma, the granddaughter then asked, “What does it mean, grandma?”index888888888888

Her grandmother 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 insides became hardened.
  • The ground coffee beans were unique; after they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.


“Which are you?” she asked her granddaughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?”


The choice is yours. We can start in life like as a strong carrot but in the face of  pain, tragedy or challenges, we may end up wilting and losing our force; or we can start like an egg with a soft and fluid heart and get hardened by life circumstances despite our shelves looking the same.


Alternatively, we can be like the coffee beans getting transformed by the hot water, the circumstance that brought us the pain. The hotter the boiling water (when things get at its worst), the more aroma and flavor the coffee beans release.

The beauty of this lesson is that we all have free will to consciously chose how we want to react to adversity and transcend our life challenges.


(Author unknown)

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Published by Amira Carluccio