Monday, June 22, 2009

Life as it happens......

Sometimes, we welcome problems. But during other times we try really hard to avoid them. But aren't we constantly looking for ways to better face them? here's something to read:

Tired of a life of struggle, a young woman sought her mother's advice. She told her how things were so hard for her and how she was unable to cope with problems. Her mother took her to the kitchen and filled three pots with water. In the first, she put carrots, in the second, she put eggs and in the last, she placed coffee beans. She let them boil without saying a word. Twenty minutes later, she turned off the burners and asked her daughter, "What do you see?"

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," the daughter replied. The mother drew her closer and told her to feel the carrots. She did and saw that they were soft. She was then asked to take an egg and break it. On shelling, the daughter found a hard-boiled egg. Finally, she was asked to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma.Perplexed, she asked, "What's your point, mother?" Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity -boiling water - but each had reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting, but soon turned soft and weak. The egg, when put to the test, had hardened. However, the ground coffee beans were unique. They had changed the texture of the water and filled it with their aroma. "Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When problems knock on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"

There is much to learn from that fable. Which one are you? Are you the carrot that seems strong, but wilts in the face of pain and adversity? Are you the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but hardens when in adversity? Or, are you like the coffee bean, which actually changes the water, the very circumstance that brings the pain, by its fragrance and flavour. When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level? There lies the secret to solving problems and handling adversity.

Problems are part and parcel of life. But as they say, where there's a will there's a way. For every problem, there's an alternative course of action. You just have to find it.

The most natural course of action is to evade the problem or just wish it away, but problems, like cancers, usually stay around and spread. So, it's better to confront the situation before it becomes an emergency.

The real problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem. When you accept problems, you also learn to have a contingency plan. For instance, when you know there is a danger of fire, you keep extinguishers handy. The important thing to remember about conflicts is that they happen all the time and they are actually opportunities disguised as problems. They provide us with better ways to fix what needs to be fixed and improve what needs to be improved.

And since most problems are man-made, solutions are within our reach. There are two reasons why we tend to see a problem as a problem: the fact that it has to be solved; and our apprehension about the outcome of the solution.