Braving adversities in life

In life, it is not so much one’s outer show of bravado and macho that counts or is crucial in the final analysis. 

Indeed, the people labeled as successful are the ones who have weathered the storms and survived against all odds and even superseded and bypassed those more intelligent and talented than them by dint of their sheer quality of inner strength.

Inner strength, like inner beauty, is not a trait and characteristic possessed by everyone, but the good news is that it can be acquired and developed by stoic determination and tenacity.

The following story is about a girl who was ready to fling her hands in utter despair as she was accosted by several intransigences and adversities.

It appeared that just when one problem was solved, another appeared starkly on her horizon. Unhappy and frustrated, she had reached the end of her tether and was ready to call it quits. 

Her father, a sensible and sanguine gentleman, wanted to show her the necessity of not giving up, but taking on the challenge courageously.

He told her to come to the kitchen and took a carrot, an egg and some coffee beans, and put each of them in 3 respective bowls of water. He then heated the 3 bowls with their contents for about 20 minutes.

After this stipulated time, he turned off the burners and placed each item outside the bowls. The carrot which had been hard and strong externally was now soft and weak after the boiling. It could be a metaphor for a person who seems strong and resilient initially but during the onslaught of an adversity, whittles and is unable to cope.

The egg, on the other hand, within the shell had initially a soft white and yellow yolk, but after the boiling, these become hard. This can be indicative of a person with a malleable heart, who seems soft, but in the event of an adversity or crisis, like a death, a breakup, or a lay off, is rendered hardened and stiff.

While these two extremes indicate two diametrically opposite personalities, it was in the ultimate analysis the coffee beans who win the day. The coffee beans put into the boiling water change the quality of the water, turning it into a rich drink. 

What this example infers is that when one is at the lowest nadir and ebb of one’s life, one should emerge triumphant and try as much as it is humanly possible to face the adversity and if possible improve and ameliorate the source of adversity which caused the pain and misery in the first place.

Indeed, one should recall the motto of this story to indicate to one how to tackle adversity in the correct attitude and spirit without losing heart and hope. 

At such a juncture, it is futile to wallow in self pity, which will not get one anywhere and which is very self defeating.

 Another beautiful quotation which is relevant here is, “Be like the sandalwood tree that perfumes the axe that fells it.”

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