The Story of Spilled Coffee

Here’s a story that I came across the other day. It’s obviously not really a true story, but the lesson to be learned certainly rings true and it’s something we should all take to heart, because it’ll change how you choose to view the world around you and how you choose to react or respond to your environment.

Picking Up a Cuppa Joe

Let’s say it’s a beautiful day outside and you decide to go for a stroll. You pop by the local Starbucks to pick up your favorite brew. And as you turn around from the pickup counter, someone accidentally bumps into you and, as a result, half of your coffee ends up splashing all over the floor. The question I pose to you now is why did you spill the coffee?

The obvious answer that comes to mind for most people is the reason why you spilled your coffee is because that other guy bumped into you. If he didn’t bump into you, you wouldn’t have spilled your coffee. This is true.

Perhaps taking it one step further, the reason why you spilled your coffee is because you weren’t paying attention to your surroundings. If you had glanced over your shoulder before deciding to turn around, you may have been able to avoid that collision and thus saved your coffee. That might be true too.

But both of these are almost beyond the point if we were to consider the situation on a much more literal level.

Inside Out

The reason why you spilled your coffee is because your cup was full of coffee. If that cup was full of hot tea, you would have spilled hot tea. If the cup was filled with lemonade, you would have spilled your lemonade.

At the very core of it all, the thing that you spill is what was within you when you got shaken or jostled. The thing that comes spilling out is whatever was inside your cup when you got shaken or jostled. Getting bumped simply released what was already there.

If you didn’t get bumped, nothing would have spilled, but in life, you can only expect to have your world shaken, jostled, and turned upside down every now and then.

Start at the Beginning

Now, this story isn’t really about coffee, of course. The point is that whatever is inside you is what will come out when you get shaken. If you are already filled with anger and resentment, that’s what will come out when things don’t quite go your way and you get bumped. If you are already filled with frustration, that’ll spill out ten times hotter when you get jostled.

Many people assume that they’ll be happy when they’re successful, but that’s putting the cart before the horse. It’s completely backwards. You must first start from a mindset of happiness and gratitude before you can really achieve any kind of real success. That way, when the world inevitably bumps into you, the thing that will come spilling out of your cup is happiness and gratitude.

The challenge, then, is figuring out how you can choose to fill your cup with positive vibes, humility, kindness, compassion and ambition, rather than resentment and frustration. It needs to be a conscious choice. So, start there. Fill your cup with joy, so when you do get shaken, all it means is you now have room for a refill.