Episode 004: The Breakfast Breakthrough

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The Breakfast Breakthrough

Once upon a time a daughter complained to her father one morning, that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it. She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed.
Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot, and ground coffee beans in the third pot.
He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter. The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing.
After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.
He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup. Turning to her he asked. “Daughter, what do you see?”
“Potatoes, eggs, and coffee,” she hastily replied.
“Look closer,” he said, “and touch the potatoes.” She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.
“Father, what does this mean?” she asked.
He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity– the boiling water.
However, each one reacted differently.
The potato went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak.
The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard.
However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.
“Which are you,” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean? “

The Insights and Takeaways

Man oh man, this story gets me hungry every time. Not just hungry for food, but even more so hungry for growth.

Something as simple as a  potato, an egg, and a pile of coffee beans can teach us so much about adversity. It makes me regret not waking up early enough to eat a well-balanced breakfast every morning… I’m still working on that!

But for me, the potato symbolizes humility, the egg symbolizes lack of confidence and hesitation in oneself, and the coffee beans represents the beauty of an individual’s ability to turn a tough situation into a beautiful experience.

The potato teaches humility. It enters strong and firm, all of the confidence in the world, but comes out soft and weak. For some reason, the first memory that comes to mind is from an English class in high school. We were assigned to memorize a poem and recite it with our interpretation of the tone and vibe. I practiced over and over again and when it was my time to share, I was so confident that I had the poem perfectly. After I recited the poem, I took a deep exhale and looked to my classmates and teacher for approval with a smirk of accomplishment… only to be told by my professor that I missed the tone of the poem completely. Confidence shattered.

Opposite the potato, the egg represents the lack of confidence in ourselves. I happen to feel like an egg almost every day. I never thought I would say that before. The thought comes from something as simple as having to wake up at 6:00 AM and get ready to take the bus to the high school I teach at. It’s cold, it’s windy, and since daylight savings ended, it’s been very dark. In this scenario, the boiling water of adversity I faced made me weak. I admit, there are a lot of mornings where I just feel defeated and chills climb my spine as I wonder… why am I awake this early?

BUT, this quickly fades. There are some days where I wake up so ready to take on the day despite the weather and the time. Those are the days I try to emulate consistently. The days where I can take my first step out the door with a smile on my face and laugh at the frigid chilling wind that tries to stop me. Going in to the situation I may feel weak, but soon after, I am ready to take on the day.

Last but not least, is my favorite lesson. The coffee beans enlighten us by not only bearing through the pains and struggles of adversity, but by also creating something wonderful from them. We as humans have the amazing ability of transformation. We can turn grapes into wine. We can turn a spark into a blazing flame. We can turn the pains and struggles of our past into the unrelenting motivations and passions that guide our future. Think about that…


The Challenge

Problems. Challenges. Adversity. These are inevitable. They will come whether you want them to or not and they show no mercy. Like the father in the story asks his daughter, I ask you again… “When adversity knocks on your door, how will YOU respond?”

We may not be able to control our environment or the unpredictable variables in our lives… but we can most definitely control how we react to them. I truly believe that we have the power to turn our situation around with choice, consistency, and commitment.

I want to challenge you to utilize these the next time you are faced with adversity.

Choose to face adversity when it comes knocking on your door.

Be consistent with your execution and persistent with your passion and drive to overcome.

Commit to the task and give it your absolute all.

Short StoryJohn LeeComment