The Coffee Bean

A Simple Lesson to Create Positive Change

by Jon Gordon & Damon West


Life is often like a pot of very hot water. It can be a harsh, stressful, and difficult place. You will find yourself in environments and facing conditions that test who you truly are, and can change, weaken, or harden you if you let them.

Like all the stuff I’m going through now, Abe said.

Exactly, Mr. Jackson responded.

You are feeling the pressure of school, papers, and tests. You are feeling the heat that comes with the expectations of being a great football player. You feel like your parents’ marriage is about to boil over. The hate on social media and the negativity in the world is rising; it’s all one big pot of boiling water.

But you have a choice.

You can be like the carrot that is weakened and softened by its environment. You can be like the egg that is hardened by its environment. Or, you can be like the coffee bean that transforms its environment. And when I look at you, I don’t see a carrot. I don’t see an egg. I see a coffee bean who will overcome challenges and change the world.

I want you to remember this lesson for the rest of your life. Wherever you go and whatever you do, remember you are a coffee bean and you have the power to transform any environment you are in.

No matter how hard things get, or how hopeless things look, don’t give up. Realize that we don’t create our world from the outside in. We create and transform it from the inside out.

If you think you are a carrot, you will believe the power and forces outside you are more powerful than who you are on the inside, and you will become weaker.

If you think you are an egg, you will believe the negativity in the world has the power to harden your heart and cause you to become negative like the world.

But if you know you are a coffee bean, you will not allow the outside world to impact you. You will know that the power inside you is greater than the forces outside you, and with this insight, you will transform your environment and world from the inside out.

The power is on the inside.

Be the coffee bean.

Ref: Gordon, J. and West, D., 2019. The Coffee Bean. John Wiley & Sons.