Responding To The Face Of Adversity

Kumar Gauraw

I received this story in an email a few days ago. Since the email address was not known to me and subject of the email was not an indicator of the content either, I almost deleted it. But then I decided to just see the content, and now I thank God I did because the story I am going to share with you is what the email contained.

Young worried women tired of facing issues, challenges of life one after another

It is possible that you may have heard about this story before. But I was amazed by the story as this was my first encounter and therefore, I thought it is worth sharing with you. I am sure you will enjoy the story regardless.

The Story Of Potatoes, Eggs And Coffee Beans

Once upon a time, there lived a wise chef whose daughter seemed to face one problem after another. She felt as if she was miserable as she was tired of struggling with frustrations and challenges over and over. As soon as she solved one problem, it seemed as if another one was just waiting.

She went to her father to share her frustration with life and possibly obtain some advice from the wise man.

The chef listened very attentively to her complaints and stories of her struggles. Then he took her to the kitchen.

He filled three pots with water and placed each on the stove at high temperature. Soon the water began boiling in each  pot. Now, he placed a few potatoes in one pot,  a few eggs in the second pot and some ground coffee beans in the third pot. Now, the chef and his daughter had to wait for a few minutes.

After the wait was over, the chef got up from his chair and turned off the burners. Now, he took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in another bowl. Finally, he then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup.

He then started to explained the phenomena to his daughter. He pointed at the fact that the potatoes, the eggs and those coffee beans had each faced the same adversity – the boiling water. Each one had faced the adversity for the same duration of time as well. However, each one reacted differently.

The potato was strong, hard and unrelenting to begin with. But boiling water (the adversity), made it soft and weak.

The egg was strong on the outside, but fragile from within. It had a thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became stronger. The inside of the egg became harder.

However, the story of those ground coffee beans as a little more interesting. They were hard and nothing special before going into the boiling water. However, after they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something completely new.

 "Which one are you?" the wise chef asked his daughter.

"When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you like those potatoes, like those eggs, or like those coffee beans?", he asked.

Moral Of The Story

In life, many things happen. Life always happens and it throws new challenges at us often.  As long as we are alive, adversities strike at us. But what truly matters is,  how we choose to respond to adversities when they strike. It is our attitude towards the problem that drives the outcome in most cases.

Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records. ~William Arthur Ward    [tweet this]

Some people become bitter after facing adversities and some become better. It is the attitude of the person that decides the outcome more than anything else. If we can keep an open mind and faith, we can make adversities produce amazing results. We can use the adversities to change the world if we have the right attitude.

Over To You – Share Your Thoughts

How did you like the story? Would you like to share an example or two of some people who used their adversities to produce a positive outcome?

Please click here to share your thoughts. Thank you kindly!

Kumar Gauraw

Posts Twitter Facebook

Kumar Gauraw is a Personal Branding & Social Media strategist helping entrepreneurs and skilled professionals achieve personal and professional success by developing leadership and leveraging the power of the Internet, Blogging and Social Media.

31 Awesome Thoughts So Far, Add Yours Now...

  1. Thanks so much for bringing that into a blog post. I had seen it in years past but forgot it. It was perfect timing for me!

    Over from JustRetweet

    • Thank you for the appreciation Patricia. Digging through my emails, I found out that this story had been there in my mailbox before through different sources as well. But, now that it is on my blog, it got a life and PLUS others will be able to enjoy the lessons more often through this.

      Have a blessed rest of the week!



  2. Hello Kumar,

    Thank you for sharing this story with us. I think we should all take some time to read this to remind us that our faith will see us through any adversity we face.

    I don’t remember this story but I’m definitely going to share it. :). It was motivating for me! Hope you’ve had a great week! Happy Thursday.

    • Hi Corina,
      If this is the first time you read this story, I can imagine how impactful you would have found it.
      It is indeed a great reminder for all of us. Thank you for dropping by and sharing your words of appreciation.

  3. Hi Kumar,

    Thank you so much for sharing! I love stories with word pictures like this. It makes it so much easier to envision. This story also allows the reader to take up the position of objective observer, and removing the sting harsh criticism, are able to see if they resonate with the scenario described, and then reflect upon it.

    Kindest Regards,

    • Wow! Thank you for your incredible commentary, Bill. It’s like watching a movie and then getting to the morale objectively, right?
      Thank you again!

  4. Hello Mr. Kumar

    Great post. Very inspirational.

    We all experience many challenges, but our attitude certainly plays a big part in the outcome.

    Our Faith will carry us through any challenge,
    Thank you again

    • Hello Gladys,
      You are so right! We all need to have a little faith:-)

      Thank you for sharing some thoughts about the story and the words of appreciation.

  5. Kumar, your blog is awesome! You’re the man. You blew my mind again. Hold on.

    “However, after they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something completely new”

    Are you serious? I thought the egg was strong. Adversity builds character but THEN I read this. This is revolutionary…

    I’ll be thinking about this for the next week.

    • Hi Sebastian,

      Yes, that is revolutionary indeed! I felt the same way when I was reading for the first time 🙂

      But, when we look around and see in real world, there have been people who have been able to be like those coffee beans and they are simply incredible human beings!

      For example, the author of the book “How I raised myself from failure to success in selling”, Frank Betger, and Chad Hymas, the author of the book, “Doing what must be done” have gone through so much but then, that is what made them the men they became. Check them out and you will be amazed!

      By the way, thank you for your kind words of appreciation. Appreciate you too!

      • I’m going to check out those books for sure! Thanks Kumar, I’m learning a lot.

  6. Hey Kumar,

    I’ve heard this story before and it’s a great lesson.

    I’m glad you decided to share it with your readers because if you’ve never heard it before then there are bound to be others too.

    There is always a lesson in everything right! How will we handle challenges.

    Appreciate this reminder and enjoy the rest of your week.


    • Thanks Adrienne!
      Yes, we can always learn some good reasons in small lite things and some cute stories such as this.
      You have a wonderful weekend as well!

  7. Hi Kumar,

    I loved the story, and like you, I tend to delete a lot of such emails, but have no started saving them up because some of them are really with good lessons to take back home 🙂

    You are so right, just as the story indicates, problems and adversities are a part of life and we need to accept that. But what matters most is our attitude towards those probles and how we react to them. Having a positive attitude is what helps us pull right through, isn’t it?

    Thanks for this inspirational post. Have a nice weekend 🙂

    • Hi Harleena,

      Not sure why but this time, your comment went into spam and that’s the reason I didn’t see it until you messaged me on G+. Thanks for the notification 🙂

      And yes, I’ve deleted a lot of them years ago. But now I don’t. If it makes sense to me, I know for sure, it will make sense for some more people (or I think so).

      You have a wonderful weekend as well. Thank you!



  8. Hi Kumar,
    It is very interesting story. lucky for you to get an email that contain this story. As I remember, I think it’s my first time I read it. I wonder, which one myself is… May I become a better person and for all of us 🙂

    • Hi Meisha,

      If it’s your first introduction to this story, I am sure you would have enjoyed it a lot as I did when I saw it the first time 🙂

      Thank you for dropping by and sharing your thoughts. Have a nice weekend!



  9. Hello; I enjoyed the story. I believe I have always had the spirit of a coffee person but I have grown into it more over the last few years. I am a business owner and computer user who happens to be blind. I work hard every day at becoming better at my profession. I have been inspired by people like eric weihhemayer the blind climber who has reached the top of the world’s seven summits and tom sullivan the blind musician and actor who once had a regular spot on the today show. I also love people like vujicic the man with no arms or legs. Weihhemayer actually wrote a book called the adversity advantage where he teaches his belief that its only through trial that we become the best person we can be. And I agree with him that its reaching out in faith stretching yourself and testing your personal limits that will bring out that special part of you that God intended. And I enjoy the fact that I can also be an inspiration to people. I usually don’t think of myself that way, I’m just a guy trying to build a business and make a living; but I have finally accepted the fact that to a lot of other people this is a big deal. Thanks so much for the post. I look forward to your next excellent article. Take care, Max

    • Hi Maxwell,

      A lot of people think it’s a big deal? Well, right now, I think that’s a big deal. How you manage to read these blog posts and then respond to them, is a mystery to me and I am sure it must have amazed many many people around you. Wow!

      I would love to know more about your story and your business. I will get in touch with you on email which is the best way to probably get to know you better.

      Thank you for sharing your story and inspiring me and all my readers here.


  10. Kumar, I had not heard this one before but love the quote and had to tweet it 🙂 Very inspiring. It’s not what happens so much to us but how we react to it that really counts. Some can handle difficulties better than others and it could be due to faith and a little to do with one’s personality too. Thanks for sharing this inspiring story with us!

    • Hi Lisa,
      Wow! I am glad you enjoyed the story and, thanks for your tweet 🙂
      Have a blessed weekend!

  11. Hi Kumar.

    I haven’t heard this story before and I’m sure glad you shared it here. Adversity is part of life. Some people just get all flustered when it happens. But, when we know it is part of life, we become stronger and can face it calmly, without any anger or anxiety.

    I guess I have learned this lesson long ago over and over again until it dawned on me that I was a pretty strong gal. So now when adversity strikes, I don’t react, but take a moment, breathe…sometimes take a longer time to figure out the problem. But ALWAYS do in a calm and focused mindset.


    • Hi Donna,
      I am amazed to see how many people have said they didn’t know about this story already. It just means that we shouldn’t assume that people don’t want if we have a gift which we don’t value too much because others just love it. I am glad I shared it too 🙂

      Thank you for sharing your wisdom.
      Have a great weekend!


  12. Wonderful story, Kumar, and I’m glad you decided to blog about this.

    I’m definitely like the coffee beans. Anyone knowing me when I was 20 and knowing me now would testify to this. My metamorphose actually took place only 8 years ago, and this story will be a big part of my upcoming personal development book.

    People definitely react differently to adversity, and more time than not, it’s this adversity that shows us what we’re really made of.

    • Hi Sylviane,

      Wow! When is your book coming out? I would love to get my hands on it and if I can be of any help in your book project, please let me know as I would love to help you anyway I could. Plus, good luck to you on this project as well 🙂

      Have a great weekend!



  13. Great story, Kumar :)! You’re always inspirational! That’s really true, I noticed that some time ago that many different situations are happening in life and the only things that depends on us is our attitude to those situations!
    One of the most inspirational stories about adversity and will is Steve Job’s story. You probably know it. I really admire this person so much when he was fired from his own company Apple, but that didn’t stop him. That even made him more legacy later.

    • You are so right Aistis. Steve Job’s story is absolutely amazing. It inspires and teaches us not to take anything fo granted. At the same time it also teaches us that nothing can stop a man with determination. A human soul on fire is the most powerful thing in the world. 

      Good to hear from you and glad that you enjoyed this story my friend! Take care,



  14. Kumar,

    Thank you for sharing the wonderful story here for all of us to benefit. I believe taking some time to read this will remind us very deeply, that our faith will always help us overcome any adversity we may face.

    These stories are always motivating for me, thanks for taking time to share.


    • Thank you Nick. Appreciate those words of appreciation and thank you for sharing your thoughts on this story!

      Stories are definitely one of the best ways to get inspired and just as you do, I love stories.

      Look forward to get to know your story more as we exchange our thoughts going forward!



  15. Kumar, your blog is awesome! You’re the man. You blew my mind again. Hold on.

    “However, after they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something completely new”

    Are you serious? I thought the egg was strong. Adversity builds character but THEN I read this. This is revolutionary…

    I’ll be thinking about this for the next week.

  16. I like your story of the potato, egg, and coffee. I want to say that I have the characteristics of all three, although would like to think that I’m more of a coffee bean, simple yet able to make a difference to my surroundings.

Please Note: My goal is to host interesting conversations with caring, honest, and respectful people. Therefore, I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic.