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Carrots, Eggs, and Coffee

Carrots, Eggs, and Coffee

By: Jim Fannin

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire.

Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners.

She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.

She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, “What does it mean, mother?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity –boiling water — but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.

“Which are you?” she asked her daughter. ” When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?” Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor.

If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate to another level? How do you handle adversity?

ARE YOU A CARROT, AN EGG, OR A COFFEE BEAN? I hope you enjoyed this and it made you think. It sure has for me. I want to be the coffee bean.

Madness Is Good, Right? - Life Coaching - Jim Fannin Brands

Madness Is Good, Right?

By Jim Fannin

It’s March in a few days and this upcoming month has some bizarre date designations.  It is National Frozen Food Month, National Nutrition Month, National Peanut Month, National Women’s History Month, Red Cross Month, and Social Workers Month.  There are special days like:

March 3rd: I Want You To Be Happy Day (I really do want this)

March 5th:  Multiple Personality Day (sounds like a HUGE party day, even alone)

March 10th: Middle Name Pride Day (I am “Edward” this day)

March 10th: Popcorn Lover’s Day (one of my favs)

March 20th: International Earth Day (not sure what to do, but love it)

March 25th: National Waffle Day (probably need to avoid this)

March 28th: Something on a Stick Day (makes you go…hmmm?)

March 30th: National Take a Walk in the Park Day (I love parks and walk in one a lot)

March 31st: National Clam on a Half Shell Day (two dozen, please!)

Who comes up with this stuff?

Yes…it’s March soon and the madness will be everywhere.  What is madness?  Webster’s Dictionary has its definition of madness as folly, insanity, enthusiasm and ecstasy.  Two big events every March bring out these characteristics in all of us.  They are:

St. Patrick’s Day

NCAA College Basketball Championships

During a meeting this time last year with the CEO of a $600M company, he informed me of his weekly plans.  Attending a board meeting?  No.  Taking customers to dinner? No.  Scrutinizing his profit & loss statement?  No.   He will be drinking green beer in an Irish pub on the Southside of Chicago, while watching college hoops.

Was he mad?  Yes!

Will this year be different? No!

On March 17th all of us will become Irish.  We will celebrate St. Patrick, the apostle saint from the 5th century.  Some say he banished snakes from Ireland. Awesome! I’ve been there.  I saw no snakes. His celebration has its parades, alcohol and mad partying into the wee hours. I’m Irish. I will wear green. We will all wear green.  There is a legend that wearing green makes you invisible to leprechauns that will pinch you if they can see you.

Are we mad?

A few weeks ago the #1 and #2 ranked NCAA basketball teams were upset on the same night by two successful coaches and good friends. Why did this matter?  At this time of year, every NCAA basketball game matters, especially the big upsets.  Getting into the “Big Dance” is paramount for most college basketball programs.  Millions of dollars will change hands as university coffers grow with every win. Baby-faced, scholastic ballers will launch their professional careers by getting in the Zone at the right time and place. Campuses across America will go crazy as their favorite team runs onto the court with shouts of “We’re #1!” reverberating from students, faculty and alums everywhere.

Why do we wear the cloth of madness in March?  After a long winter, we want to let our hair down and root for our alma mater.  We want to celebrate our Irish heritage, even if we’re only 1/10th Irish or not. We long to be a kid again.  We need to put aside our economic challenges, political views, family squabbles and other hardships. With two events we can party in the moment, forget our troubles and recapture our youth.  Who doesn’t want that?

March is a mad, mad, mad Zone month.

Do you feel the tug and pull of March Madness?  It’s coming soon! Get your shamrock.  Wear green on the 17th.  Put on your school colors. Root like a crazy person for your favorite team, don’t forget to embarrass yourself eating popcorn on the 10th and be sure to suck down some clams on the 31st.

Are we mad? ABSOLUTELY…YES!!  And this means spring is just around the corner.

She Was A Library

She Was A Library

By Jim Fannin

It was a very long flight. Chicago to Hawaii nonstop was my journey. I sat next to the most wonderful woman. Her name was Jean. She was born in Chicago on August 16, 1922.

Here’s what I learned from this very kind, soon-­‐to-­‐be 90-­‐year old, beautiful soul.

Do you remember the Great Depression? “Absolutely!” She responded without hesitation. What was it like? I questioned. “People shared. You never threw anything out. Someone else might need it or you could find a purpose for it later. We were tough…in a good way.”

What was it like after the Great Depression? We all worked hard. We were focused. It seemed like I always had a little less money than something would cost. In 1937 I needed shoes for communion. They cost $1.75 and I only had $1.67. However, the storekeeper gave them to me anyway. That’s the way it was.

What was it like during World War II? “There was more trust back then. We didn’t believe or expect that someone would take advantage of us even though it could happen. Sometimes it did. Mostly it didn’t happen. Every one was very friendly. I worked as a hostess at a restaurant at Oak and Rush in Chicago. I knew everyone…even the big shots. Everyone was nice back then.”

Were you married? “Yes. My beloved. He made the transition 26 years. I remain his widower.”

Do you have any children? “I have six children. I raised four daughters and two boys. I taught them to help each other. And they did. I was their parent much more than their friend. Parents today want or need to be friends with their kids. That

makes it hard to manage. Respect is less. Now that they’re older, we’re friends but I’m still mom.”

Who is your all-­‐time favorite singer? “Elvis…especially when he sang gospel music. He was so soulful. He sang from his heart.”

What advice would you give a young person today? “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

What’s wrong with the world today? “Too much chaos. However, out of chaos comes a new world order. We are in the middle of this happening.”

What helped you most in life? “I never developed a poverty consciousness. I was always positive. This mindset helped me stay healthy all these years.”

What 3 pieces of advice would you give the world?

  1. “Attract loving people in your life. Try to love everyone even if one seems unlovable. There is a person I know that really makes it hard to love them. I pray for her all the time.”
  2. “Save for a rainy You never know when it’s going to rain hard.”
  3. “Be Kindness will always lead you to an opportunity to better yourself.”

What do you do daily that keeps you so young? “I listen to classical music every night.”

How lucky was I on this long trip? Sitting next to Jean was a joy. It was a privilege. I was blessed with her company. Her family kept coming up to her during the flight to check on her. Maybe it was to see if she was bothering me or if I was bothering her. Jean just waved them off and said over and over. “I’m fine. You’re disturbing my visit with Jim.”

I volunteered to give her one of my books. She wouldn’t take it because she wanted to pay for it. I told her she was disrupting my act of kindness. She understood and laughed out loud. Of course, I personalized her copy.

Jean is a wealth of knowledge, wisdom and experience. She is a library. I pray she lives forever. When someone elderly transitions (as Jean would say) from earth, a library has burnt to the ground.

Visit your nearest favorite library ASAP. You’ll be surprised at what’s on the shelves.

Be a Kid Again!

Be a Kid Again!

By Jim Fannin

Why did you learn more from birth to five years old than the rest of your life combined? What prompted this super learning? My research from 1974-1979 with over 250,000 children ages 3-6 years old revealed the following:

  • Your imagination was at an all-time high. You acted the part of cowboys, Indians, princesses and TV heroes.
  • You never thought about the past unless an adult forced you. “I told you not to do that.”
  • You learned from the past through trial and error, but you didn’t dwell on it.
  • Your future thoughts were very short term. “We’ll get an ice cream later.”
  • You normally went to bed happy and woke up happy.
  • You had very little expectations placed on you. Mistakes were no big deal.
  • You exercised Free Will every day.
  • You trusted people without thinking about innuendos, rumor, gossip and/or assumptions.
  • You were inquisitive without concern of embarrassment or shame. “Where do babies come from?” “Why is your skin different?
  • You did not worry.
  • You lived the majority of your day in the NOW.
  • You had confidence because you felt secure and protected.
  • You could vent your displeasure openly. “Yuck! This tastes bad.”
  • You always expressed your negative feelings. “I don’t like you.”
  • You didn’t mind being alone.
  • You took nothing for granted. “Are we still going to the park? Yes. (5 minutes later) “Are we still going to the park?” “I said yes.” (10 minutes later) “Are we still going to the park?” “Not if you keep bothering me.” “Okay, but are we still going?”
  • You were a risk taker. Water…heights…speed…no problem!
  • You could focus long periods of time on simple things like cartoons…watching an ant carry food… listening to the rain on your bedroom window.
  • You played a lot every day.
  • You exercised daily.
  • You looked out for #1. “Those are my toys. Give them to me.”
  • You said what you felt and you were honest to a fault. “Mr. Johnson…why are you so fat?”
  • You felt no racism or prejudice.
  • When you played you never thought about technique. You just played the game.
  • You believed adults.
  • Clocks and watches never mattered.
  • The telephone was interesting but not really important.
  • You had no bills.
  • Your body was relaxed most of the time.
  • You thought you could do anything. Everything was possible.
  • You had deep sleeps. Alarm clocks were for adults.
  • You could nap anywhere if needed. Floors… backseat of cars…closets.
  • You didn’t like baths, but when you took them you made the most of it. How relaxing and fun! Showers were for adults in a hurry.
  • You could always entertain yourself.
  • Visualization was a major part of your life.
  • Getting dirty was cool.
  • Making mistakes never bothered you until the adults made a big deal out of them.
  • Competition was natural, not something that was expected.
  • You believed promises.
  • You hugged a lot.
  • You were always yourself unless you were acting out a fantasy.
  • Who…What… Where… When…How much…and Why were your favorite words.
  • You played a lot with your family.
  • You saw life through different glasses.
  • You noticed everything in a room.
  • You loved the outdoors.
  • You loved rolling down a hill…making a snow angel…going up the slide…singing loud…laughing …milk moustaches…dressing up make-believe…birthdays… parades…puppies…seeing your cousins…learning to whistle…
  • You genuinely loved yourself, family and life.

Basically, you lived in or near the Zone mindset of a purposeful calm where everything seemed possible. Isn’t it time to be a kid again? I promised myself that when I departed this earth a kid would die in my old body. Rekindle super-learning. Increase your daily performances and remember this: Good fortune favors the bold.

Be a kid again!