The carrot, the egg and the coffee bean

It’s sounds like a parable, doesn’t it? Yesterday, one of my favorite patients was reminiscing about the good old days when he was working and how he would work through sticky situations with his boss. He is so wise and often shares stories so relatable to life. He shared this story about the carrot, the egg and the coffee bean, which he said he tells his kids to help them through some of life’s messy situations.

When you think of a raw carrot, it’s hard and crunchy. But what happens when you drop it in a pot of boiling water? It softens. When you think of an egg, it’s got a hard shell on the outside and it’s soft and runny on the inside. What happens when you drop it in a pot of boiling water? It solidifies on the inside, it changes. But what happens when you take a coffee bean and drop it in boiling water? It changes the water around it.

I love this analogy and it immediately made me think of resiliency. My therapist keeps telling me that of all his patients, I am the most resilient person he’s ever worked with…that I should be the poster-child for resiliency.

I had a pretty stressful day at work (I think most of us do, almost on a daily basis). I was commiserating with one of my colleagues and she reminded me that we spend 40+ hours each week at work, away from family, friends and leisure time, that no wonder our work impacts us so much. When my patient told me this story, I realized how much like a coffee bean we all are. We are striving to do our best to survive in our surroundings and although we may not feel like we are, most of us are making our surroundings adapt around us, not the other way around. By our actions, decisions, communication, we mold our environment and make amazing changes. By being that coffee bean in a pot of boiling water, we are capable of changing our worlds.


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