Potato, Coffee, and Eggs Story – A Mindset Parable

Potato, Coffee, and Eggs Story – A Mindset Parable

I read this mindset parable about the Potato, Coffee, and Eggs years ago. It is very apt now when times are tough, and we experience a difficult period.

Many companies have closed, and many people are laid off. In the parable, a father told his daughter to be strong when times are tough.

He explained that life could be hard, but the circumstances can crush you or make you stronger. It all depends on your choices. 

Change your mindset to change your life.

Things happen. We make decisions. Even when we say we refuse to make any decision – we have. We decided that we didn’t want to do anything and want a status quo.

Whatever decision we make, it shapes our life.

It’s that simple.

Sometimes we need to learn to respond instead of reacting. 

A little pause will create a moment of increased awareness of the words we choose to speak or the actions we choose to take.

Here’s a short story to help you remember that how we respond to situations is our choice:

A Mindset Parable of the Potato, Coffee, and Eggs

Once upon a time, a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable.

She didn’t know how she was going to make it as she just lost her job. The hotel she was working closed suddenly.

She was tired of fighting and struggling every day.

It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one BIGGER and more complicated soon followed.

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. That was a sign that says enter at your own risk.

He filled three pots filled 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.

But following the recipe, she wondered what they are making.  

The daughter moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing.

 “I wonder what it could be?”  

After 20 minutes, the Chef turned off the burners.

He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl.

He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.

He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup. Turning to her, he asked.

“Daughter, what do you see?”

Potato, Coffee, and Eggs,” she hastily replied.

“Look closer,” he said, “and touch the potatoes.” She did and noted that they were soft.

He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.

Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.

“Father, what does this mean?” she asked.

He then explained that the Potato, Coffee, and Eggs had each faced the same adversity– the boiling water.

Each ingredient reacted differently.

The potato went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but it became soft and weak in boiling water.

The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard.

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

“Which are you,” he asked his daughter.

“When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

Potato, Coffee, and Eggs Story – A Mindset Parable
Coffee is best served hot.

A Mindset Parable

The Potato, Coffee, and Eggs parable is a well-renowned story that has great lessons for our daily life. 

Of course, the boiling water represents the challenges we face in our day-to-day lives, whether they be large or small.  

Everyone has a choice in life. 

All these ingredients and the boiling hot water have created a wonderful you!  


When our struggles come knocking, we can attack them head-on but cave when the challenges become too much for us to handle. 

Potato, Coffee, and Eggs Story – A Mindset Parable
Potatoes appear hard and tough until you boil them.

Coffee Bean

When the water gets hot, the coffee releases its fragrance and flavor. If you are like the coffee bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.

Potato, Coffee, and Eggs Story – A Mindset Parable
When things are at the worst, you get better, like the ground coffee bean.


You could timidly attack your situations and let the challenges meld you into something more, something hard and unrelenting.

Potato, Coffee, and Eggs Story – A Mindset Parable
Eggs are fragile but harden under pressure.

Perhaps this is what we should all strive for—adaptability in the face of seemingly impossible challenges. Going in headstrong can result in you getting knocked flat on your ass, but going in timid won’t result in an amazing change either. 

Rolling with the punches, however, and recognizing when to adapt is a skill that would be undoubtedly handy in our day to day lives.

Change is inevitable and happens every single day.  

It is unavoidable. So why expend energy trying to fight the inevitable when you can adapt and overcome? 

Everybody has infinite choices in life, some big and some small. You are in control of your future. 

When adversity knocks on your door, you have the power to choose how you want to deal with it. 

Life is possibly a matter of circumstance. If you made a wrong decision, you could always make another.

How you choose to survive and thrive is entirely up to you.  

Where you want to end up in life is the greatest gift any of us have – the power to make a positive change. Decide and Make the most of your time here.   

Remember what the chef has shown you – know what you are made of…

A parable is a succinct, didactic story, in prose or verse, that illustrates one or more instructive lessons or principles. It differs from a fable in that fables employ animals, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature as characters, whereas parables have human characters. ~ Wikipedia



Potato, Coffee, and Eggs — Which Are You?

What are You Made of? The Parable of the Potato, Egg, and Coffee Bean

God Is A Chef – Poem by Dale Mullock




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