The Coffee Bean: A Simple Lesson to Create Positive Change

July 02, 2019


From bestselling author Jon Gordon and rising star Damon West comes The Coffee Bean an illustrated fable that teaches readers how to transform their environment, overcome challenges, and create positive change.

Life is often difficult. It can be harsh, stressful, and feel like a pot of boiling hot water. The environments we find ourselves in can change, weaken, or harden us, and test who we truly are. We can be like the carrot that weakens in the pot or like the egg that hardens. Or, we can be like the coffee bean and discover the power inside us to transform our environment.

The Coffee Bean is an inspiring tale that follows Abe, a young man filled with stress and fear as he faces challenges and pressure at school and home. One day after class, his teacher shares with him the life-changing lesson of the coffee bean, and this powerful message changes the way he thinks, acts, and sees the world. Abe discovers that instead of letting his environment change him for the worse, he can transform any environment he is in for the better. Equipped with this transformational truth, Abe embarks on an inspirational journey to live his life like the coffee bean. Wherever his life takes him, from school, to the military, to the business world, Abe demonstrates how this simple lesson can unleash the unstoppable power within you.

A delightful, quick read, The Coffee Bean is purposely written and designed for readers of all ages so that everyone can benefit from this transformational lesson. This is a book and message that, when read and shared, has the power to change your life and the world around you. You just have to decide: are you a carrot, egg, or coffee bean?


Abe said he tries to ignore all his problems and spends a lot of time on social media and watching videos, but that doesn’t help and actually makes him feel more negative and depressed.

“It’s hard living up to the expectations everyone has when you are playing well, and it’s even harder to hear all the negative comments when you’re playing badly,” he added.

Mr. Jackson nodded, told Abe he knew exactly how he felt, and went to the whiteboard and erased the scientific formula. Then he drew a picture of a carrot inside a pot of water.

“What happens when you put a carrot in really hot water?” Mr. Jackson asked.  

“It gets hot,” answered Abe. 

“Well, it does more than just get hot,” answered Mr. Jackson. “I want you to go home tonight and try it and see what happens.”

Abe said he would do it, although he wondered how putting carrots in hot water was going to help him with his problems.

“Oh, and if you’ve never cooked before, ask for help. I don’t want you to burn yourself,” Mr. Jackson said with a big smile, as Abe walked out of the classroom.

The next day after class, Abe told Mr. Jackson that the carrot he put into hot water softened after about ten minutes.

“Yes, the carrot was softened and weakened by its environment. It was impacted by the conditions it was in,” said Mr. Jackson.

“Sort of like me,” Abe said. 

“Actually, just like you,” Mr. Jackson responded, before going to the board and drawing a picture of an egg inside a pot of water.

“Now, tell me what happens when you put an egg inside a pot of boiling water.” “Oh, this is an easy one,” Abe said. “You get hard-boiled eggs. Even I know that.” 

“Great,” Mr. Jackson responded. “The hot water causes the egg to harden. The egg is hardened by its environment and the conditions it’s in.”

“Unfortunately, it happens to a lot of people as well. They become mean, angry, negative, and sometimes numb because of the difficult environments they are in. They grow to hate life and hate people. Their heart hardens and they lose the desire to love and be loved. I don’t want this to happen to you, which is why I’m teaching you this lesson.”

“I understand,” said Abe, who was beginning to see why Mr. Jackson was talking about carrots and eggs.

“The carrot is weakened and the egg is hardened when put in hot water. I get it,” Abe said. “I don’t want to be like a carrot or an egg.”

“No, you don’t,” said Mr. Jackson. “But there’s one more part of the lesson and experiment you need to experience and understand.”

Mr. Jackson erased the picture of the pot with the egg and drew a new picture with a coffee bean inside a pot of water.

“What happens when you put a coffee bean in really hot water?” Mr. Jackson asked.

“I have no idea,” answered Abe.

“Well, that’s what you need to do next,” Mr. Jackson said, as he grabbed a few coffee beans from a jar on his desk and placed them in Abe’s hand. “Go home and put these in hot water for about an hour and tell me tomorrow what happens.”

“And be careful you don’t burn yourself!” Mr. Jackson shouted, as Abe left the room.


The next day after class, Abe approached Mr. Jackson and excitedly shared that the coffee beans he put into hot water eventually turned the water into coffee.

“I knew ground coffee beans make coffee,” he said, “but I didn’t know a coffee bean would do the same.”

“Yes, it works the same,” Mr. Jackson said, “but it just takes longer.”

“It’s like magic,” Abe said.

“It is,” Mr. Jackson answered. “But I prefer to call it transformation.”

He then went to the board and drew a picture of three pots side by side with a carrot, an egg, and a coffee bean inside. 

“It’s one of the simplest and most powerful lessons you will ever learn,” Mr. Jackson said as he pointed to the board.

“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.”


Excerpted from The Coffee Bean: A Simple Lesson to Create Positive Change by Jon Gordon and Damon West.
Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Copyright 2019 by © Jon Gordon and Damon West.
All rights reserved.



JON GORDON has inspired millions of readers around the world. He is the author of 18 books, including six bestsellers: The Energy BusThe CarpenterTraining CampYou Win in the Locker Room FirstThe Power of Positive Leadership, and The Power of a Positive Team. He is passionate about developing positive leaders, organizations, and teams.

DAMON WEST is a motivational speaker and author of The Change Agent: How a Former College QB Sentenced to Life in Prison Transformed His World. Over the past few years, he has been sharing the coffee bean lesson with college football teams such as Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, and Texas, and countless schools and businesses. Damon is passionate about the coffee bean message, and loves sharing how it changed his life and how it can change yours, too.

We have updated our privacy policy. Click here to read our full policy.