Once, a young woman went to see her father. With a look of sadness on her face, she told him:

— ’Dad, I’m so tired of everything, everything’s going wrong at work and in my personal life, I haven’t got the strength to cope anymore. What should I do?’

Her father answered:

— ’Let me show you.’

He placed three saucepans of water on the stove, and fetched a carrot, an egg, and some coffee. He then lowered each into the three separate pans. After a few minutes he turned off the heat and asked his daughter:

— ’Well, what happened to them?’

— ’The carrot and egg boiled, the coffee dissolved,’ the young woman said.

— ’Of course,’ replied the father, ’but if we think about it more carefully, we can see that the carrot, which had been hard, became soft and compliant to the touch. Whereas the egg was fragile and like liquid, but became hard. Outwardly, they look exactly the same as they did before, but on the inside they’re completely different because of the influence of the same hostile force. The same thing happens to people. People who seem strong on the outside can lose it and become weak under pressure, but there are also those who seem fragile but become tougher and stronger when they face the same difficult circumstances.’

— ’And what about the coffee?’

— ’Ah, the coffee is the most interesting one. It completely dissolved in the new aggressive environment and changed it, turning the boiling water into a wonderfully refreshing drink. The coffee is like those people who can’t be changed by their circumstances, and instead actively alter those circumstances themselves, turning them into something new, finding a way to extract benefit and new knowledge from them…The point is, how you react in difficult circumstances depends entirely on you. It’s your choice.’

Photo credit: marianafritsch