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Analogies: Set 3 - Learning versus Potatoes, Eggs and Coffee Beans

Learning versus Potatoes, Eggs and Coffee Beans

A student complained to her instructor that she was finding it difficult to do handle the intense training. She said she worked hard, but just as she improved at one thing, she had to learn something new.

The instructor took her next door to a restaurant where he filled three pots with water and placed on a hot stove. Once the three pots began to boil, he placed some hard potatoes in one pot, some raw eggs in the second pot, and some coffee beans in the third pot. Then he and student sat and waited. The student grew impatient and complained, but the instructor told her to be patient.

After a few minutes, the instructor took a potato from the first pot and placed it in a bowl, took an egg from the second pot and placed it a bowl, and scooped some liquid from the third pot with a cup. Turning to the student, he asked. "What do you see?" "Potatoes, eggs, and coffee," the girl replied. "Look closer,” he said, "and tell me what you see." She did, and noted that the potato was soft, the egg was hard, and the liquid smelled like coffee.

“What’s the point?” asked the student. The instructor explained that the potatoes, the eggs, and coffee beans had each faced the same adversary—the boiling water. However, each reacted differently. The potato faced the adversary strong and hard, and came out weak and soft. The egg faced the adversary weak and fragile, and came out strong and hard. However, the coffee beans faced the adversary as beans and changed very little. Instead, they changed the adversary into something new and wonderful.

"Which are you?" the instructor asked the student. "When you face an adversity, how do you respond? Are you similar to a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean?” When faced with adversity, do you become weaker, or harder, or do you change the adversity into something new and wonderful?