It's Not What Happens to You, But How You React to it That Matters.


  • Perspective is Key: The quote by Epictetus sets the stage, emphasizing that our reaction to events, not the events themselves, shapes our experience.
  • The Boiling Water Test: The father uses a unique experiment with potatoes, eggs, and coffee beans to illustrate how adversity affects us differently.
  • Transformation vs. Reaction: The story highlights the contrasting responses: potatoes succumb, eggs harden, while coffee beans transform the situation.
  • The Choice is Yours: The daughter is left with a powerful question - when faced with challenges, will you choose resilience like the coffee bean, or react differently?

“Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.
It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”

Once upon a time, a daughter complained to her father 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.

After twenty minutes he turned off the burners and took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl and did the same with the eggs. He ladled the coffee into a cup. 

Turning to her, he asked, Daughter, what do you see?”

“Potatoes, eggs, and coffee,” she hastily replied.

“Look closer,” he said. “Are they still the same after being on the boil?”

She looked but still didn't understand. Father, what does this mean?” she asked.

He explained that the same boiling water softened the potatoes but hardened the egg.

The ground coffee beans, however, were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something brand new.

“When adversity knocks on your door, which one are you?” he asked, "How do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean?”


Moral of the story: In life, things happen around us, things happen to us, but the only thing that truly matters is how you choose to react to it and what you make out of it.  

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional medical or psychological advice. Please consult with a qualified healthcare professional for personalized guidance.

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1 comment

Very true, a good lesson. I enjoyed reading this post!


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