The Potatoes, Eggs, and Coffee Story

The potatoes eggs and coffee story

Have you ever wondered how challenges shape you? In the face of challenges,  problems, and adversity, do you give up, go to battle, or transform the world around you to make the best of every situation? Well, let me tell you the potatoes, eggs, and coffee story.

Today’s motivational short story is an ancient story that’s been told to children worldwide for countless years. Many story variations exist, but the moral at the end is always the same. Here is my version of the potatoes, eggs, and coffee story. Let’s discover the profound wisdom a kitchen can offer about life’s troubles. 

The Tale of The Potatoe, Eggs, and Coffee

“Life has lost its taste,” lamented Lisa, sinking further into the cushioned couch, a sense of defeat painting her face. 

Lisa looked at the floor as she spoke to her father. “Dad, every step I take leads to another dead end. At work, I’m overlooked no matter how hard I push myself. My friends are all moving forward, achieving milestones, while I feel stuck in a never-ending cycle of monotony. I feel like I’m swimming against the tide and getting nowhere.” 

Her father, a renowned chef, listened intently, empathy evident in his eyes, before leading her into the kitchen for the fateful lesson only a kitchen could provide.

When they arrived in the kitchen, Lisa’s father filled three pots with water, setting them on high heat. They sat in silence for a moment while the pans heated up.

As the water danced and bubbled, Lisa watched her father, intrigued, as he placed the potatoes in one pot, eggs in another, and a handful of aromatic coffee beans in the third. 


The room filled with scents as Lisa’s impatience grew evident. Completely unable to make sense of the three pots, Lisa asked her father, “What is this all about, Dad?” 

Her father smiled. “You’ll see,” he said. 

Twenty minutes later, Lisa’s father laid out two bowls and a mug on the counter, placing the boiled ingredients into their respective bowls and pouring the coffee into the mug. 

“What do you see?” he asked, his eyes holding a mischievous twinkle.

“Potatoes, eggs, and coffee,” Lisa answered slowly, a bit puzzled.

He urged her to touch the potato. Its once hard, sturdy exterior was now soft and yielding. 

Next, he handed her the egg, which she cracked open to find it had hardened. 

Finally, he gave her a mug full of coffee. The dark, aromatic coffee brought warmth to her face and a smile to her lips.

“But what does it all mean?” she inquired, sipping the freshly brewed coffee.

With a tender smile, her father explained, “All three faced the same adversity: boiling water. But each emerged differently. 

The potato entered strong and tough but emerged soft and weak. The fragile egg became hard. But the coffee beans? It transformed the water, creating something new.”

He paused, allowing the words to sink in, and then asked, “So, my dear, when challenges come your way, which will you be – a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

Lisa smiled, finally understanding the lesson her father patiently explained, and hugged her father. 

Life presents us with all sorts of challenges and struggles. How we deal with those challenges and struggles will determine how we deal with change. While some events may soften our resolve or harden our hearts, others can transform us, giving us the strength to change our environment, make the best of a situation, or turn a challenge into a success. 

The essence of this story isn’t just about how we handle adversity but how we can emerge from it more robust, wiser, or even transformative. 

The next time you face a challenge, ask yourself:

“Will this moment soften me, harden me, or will I use it to create something beautiful?”

Choose wisely. 

Love, Jim