How do you handle adversity… are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

What do you do when things get tough?  Do you see it as a challenge, an opportunity, or a disaster?  
Here are 5 top tips for handling hard times
1 Find the good in the situation.

There is good in any situation…as long as you look for it.  Finding the good in the situation changes the way you view it.   Perhaps you’ve had an encounter with someone who was really rude.  The good news might be that it makes you appreciate your spouse more.  I had knee surgery a couple of years ago and the world-renowned surgeon was possibly the rudest person on the planet; the good I found in that situation was the recognition that I’d rather have a knee surgeon who was great with knees and lousy with people than the other way round! 
About a year ago I was talking to a friend who was working incredibly long hours in her senior job.  When she had severe chest pains and suspected a heart attack, her first thought was, “Oh good; I’m in hospital, I’ll get some rest!”

2 Treat it as an opportunity to learn

Ask yourself, “What do I need to learn?”.  If you’ve just had an encounter with the rudest person on the planet you have a choice; you can grumble about it and let that person spoil your day or you can choose to see it as an opportunity to learn how to handle rude people.  Which makes you happier?
The over-worked friend I mentioned above, had needed that health scare to learn that she’d prefer a heart attack to the job she was doing! She made some very significant changes and is now much happier.

This year the Help for Heroes charity again held a 300 mile Battlefield Bike Ride. On that bike ride was an American solder who had lost both legs.  That soldier said it was the best thing that had ever happened to him.  He does so much more now; he learned how precious life is, and he learned to make the most of every opportunity. 


And finally…Carrots, Eggs and Coffee
A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her.  She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up.  She was tired of fighting and struggling.  It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen, filled three pots with water and placed them on the hob until they came to boil.  She put carrots in one, eggs in the second and ground coffee beans in the third.  She sat and watched them boil, without saying a word. After 20 minutes she took the pots off the hob.  She fished the carrots out and put them on a plate; she took the eggs out and put them in a bowl.  Then she ladled the coffee into a bowl.  She turned to her daughter and asked, “What do you see?”
Her daughter said, not unreasonably, “Carrots, eggs and coffee.”  
The mother brought her closer to the table and asked her to feel the carrots; she noted they were soft.  The mother then asked her to take an egg and break it; after pulling off the shell she observed the hard-boiled egg.  Finally, the mother asked her daughter to sip the coffee; the daughter breathed in the aroma, took a sip and smiled at the rich flavour.
She turned to her mother and asked “So, what are you trying to tell me?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same situation, boiling water.  After 20 minutes in boiling water the hard carrot had become soft and weak. The thin outer shell of the egg had protected its liquid interior but, after 20 minutes in the boiling water, that soft centre became hard.  The ground coffee beans, however, had released their flavour and fragrance into the boiling water and had changed the water into strong coffee.
Facing the same situation, each reacted differently.
“Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?”

If you know who first told this story, let me know, so that I can give them credit on my blog.  I’d never heard it before. 

Ask yourself; Am I a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?  The next time you find yourself in hot water, consider the following ways to change your situation for the better:


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