Learning for life over a cup of hot chocolate

April 5, 2010


A group of people, well settled in their careers, decided to have a class reunion. They met at the university and then decided to visit their favourite professor, who now led a retired life. Professor was happy to see his old students and so were his ex-students. The discussion revolved about stress in life, careers and relationships.  The professor decided to serve hot chocolate to them. He went into the kitchen and came back with a pot of hot chocolate and a few cups, all of different quality and design. He offered students to help themselves and take some hot chocolate from the pot. When they all had a cup of hot chocolate in hand, the professor shared his thoughts. He said, ¨ Did you notice that all expensive and nice looking cups were taken by you, leaving behind plain and cheap ones. Students agreed with him, some even embarrassed. They thought they were caught red handed in their bid to pick up the nice looking cups. The professor now said, “The cup you are holding in hands adds nothing to the quality of hot chocolate but still you wanted to drink from the best looking cup. What you wanted was not the cup but the hot chocolate but still you went for the cup.¨

The professor further explained, “While it is normal for you to expect the best of everything in life, very often it is also the cause of stress. Life is like the hot chocolate. Your job, money, position are all like the cup. They are tools to hold and contain the life.  They do not define or change the quality of your life. By concentrating only on the cup, you fail to enjoy the quality of life¨.

The story has important lessons. It is critical to know what do you want in life, and then work towards that with out being distracted.  Let your focus not shift on other superfluous things.  Moreover,  If you eye the cups of others, the fun of getting your hot chocolate will also be gone. And yes, it is good to visit your professor once in a while. Your education is never complete.