Learning for life over a cup of hot chocolate


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.



7 Responses to Learning for life over a cup of hot chocolate

  1. Indira hettiarachchi says:

    Thank you for the very good article.

  2. Indrani says:

    So very true. In present times we are so much concerned about and preoccupied with things like our career, property and social status that we have perhaps lost sight of our higher goal or what we really want from life. Wants are never ending and however much we may satisfy them more ambitious wants crop up and the vicious circle continues. In the 24 hour day do we ever sit peacefully for even 10 minutes without doing anything – physically or mentally. If we do that maybe we can find the key to discovering true happiness which is something beyond acquiring fame, money, expensive assets or a high flying job. However beautiful the cup may be it is ultimately the hot choclate that matters and the sooner we realise this the better.

  3. Pushpinder says:

    Yes, I do agree that we learn something new every day – provided we open our minds enough to learn something. I firmly believe that we should not lose focus and know the value of the things and people who are important to us (and appreciate that instead of looking at another person’s cup of hot chocolate!). Someone once said that “Marriage is like going to a restaurant – you order your own dish, but when you see another dish at the next table, you wish you had ordered that”. Learn to be satisfied with what you have or work towards your goal, but always, always feel blessed, thankful and special…..

  4. AnuragVerma says:

    Dear Afsar Sahab,
    Indeed,the cups do not define the quality of the hot life chocolate.Still then why do we all run the rat race life has become and claim success on acquiring the most glittering cups of them all,we egg our progeny to understand success as the cups .How many of us sincerely instill the life’s hot chocolate in the ordinary humble mug for self and the children.We would be needing the visits to our wise professor and continue education till we learn to enjoy the hot chocolate rather than the cup.We can always start afresh on the path of truth, happiness and peace.It’s not very difficult.Thank You for reaffirming faith in life.Lets stop awhile and Ponder.

  5. Jolly Dawar says:

    It is true to the utmost. By admiring other’s “cups” we generally forget the taste of our hot chocolate. I think it is indeed the most precious moments while we enjoy our own life rather than peeping into others. Most of the time it is said that we are unhappy because our neighbours are happy. Do not let that happen and live every bit of the life that one has because it is really short and by digging into other’s past, present or future will not solve any purpose – instead will make you unhappy and depressed. So – “LIVE LIFE KING SIZE”.

  6. Prof. M A Ansari says:

    Well said, indeed. In life we all are enamoured by the glitter, and it does turn out very often that “all that glitter is not gold”. In fact, the human nature is like that but at the same time we should make conscious efforts to control it. Our life anf lifestyles are generally defined not by what we want and desire but what our “neighbours and friends” have. This in turn has a cascading effect on our behaviour.
    Unless we begin to focus on the “hot chocolate” in place of “nice and beautiful looking cups”, we will continue to lead a listless and aimless life. By the time we realise it, it would be too late. Further, we should also inculcate this “culture” of focusing on hot chocolate in place of cups in the behaviour profile of our children. Then only we will leave a good legacy for the global human community.

  7. hoori.hasan says:

    It is very true that we should always be completely focused towards what we want to achieve in our life without any distraction.Continuous efforts can make our path very easy and we can enjoy the smallest happiness of our life because that happiness has come due to our own sincere hard work. Education gives us the understanding to know our life well and make each moment of it meaningful.Be happy and try your best to give others happiness

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