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Weekly Wisdom 2-24-2016

Post Date: 
Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Carrot, Egg, or Coffee Bean?

Working in HR (well, probably working anywhere) requires that you understand that there are two sides to every coin, that everyone has their story to tell, that your perception is your reality, So many times we get caught up in our own dilemmas and drama that we forget that many of our own truths that we subscribe to are based on our point of view; our perspective.  This story helps to illustrate the point:

A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her.  She was tired of fighting and struggling.  It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.  Her grandmother took her to the kitchen and filled three pots with water.  She placed carrots in one, eggs in the second and ground coffee beans in the last.  She let them sit and boil without saying a word.  In a short time, she turned off the burners and fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl.  She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.  Then she ladled the coffee into a bowl.  Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, “Tell me what you see?”  Of course, she said she saw carrots, eggs, and coffee.

She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots.  She did and noted that they were soft.  She then asked her to take an egg and break it.  After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.  Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee.  The granddaughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma.

Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity– boiling water – but each reacted differently.  The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting.  However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.  The egg had been fragile.  Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior.  But, after being through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.  The ground coffee beans were unique, however.  After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.

“Which are you?” she asked her granddaughter.  “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond?  Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

How do you respond to adversity?  Are you the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, you wilt and lose your strength?  Are you the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat?  Did you have a fluid spirit, but after death, a break up, a financial hardship, or some other trial, became hardened and stiff?  Does your shell look the same, but on the inside you are bitter and tough with a stiff spirit?  Or are you like the coffee bean, which actually changes the hot water, releasing improved fragrance and flavor?  If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.

I write Weekly Wisdom as the Executive Director of Human Resources at Central Washington University. Having an eye for meaningful things, I include my own observations and thoughts, ideas I’ve recently encountered, and/or topics that are of current importance. I like to think that others will find reading Weekly Wisdom worth their time.  
     Staci Sleigh-Layman

Take the Next Step to Becoming a Wildcat.