Fear of Failure & Stress in Training

In training, it is not uncommon to face unrelenting challenges. Accepting a new journey of fitness & fighting forces you to go outside of your comfort zone towards new ideas and experiences. These new things can induce panic, fear of failure, confusion, and thousands of other feelings. The good thing to know: this is normal.

What’s most important here is not the challenging situation at hand or how it makes you feel. It’s how you choose to react to those things. Here is a quick parable that illustrates the ability to turn adversity into opportunity depending on how you handle it.

The Potato, The Egg, & The Coffee Bean

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

After twenty minutes he 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?”

“Potatoes, eggs and coffee,” 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 potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity-the boiling water. However, each one reacted differently. The potato went in strong, hard and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak. 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 one 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?”

Consider this story the next time you go toe-to-toe with what feels like an unbeatable opponent in the ring, in life, at work, whenever. Will you go soft and weak, hard and inflexible, or will you create something beautiful and unique?