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Potato vs. the Egg: Which Are You?

Updated: Jun 5

“The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg.” 

I bet you remember hearing this during your playing days and know the underlying lesson here. For those unaware, this phrase is all about adversity. When the water starts heating up, and stress builds, do you soften like the potato and crumble, or do you harden your mentality and power through like the egg?

While this analogy makes sense during crunch-time, win-or-lose situations, I invite you to think big-picture. As athletes, we’ve encountered numerous situations where we had to be decisive, quick-thinking, and, most importantly, adaptable. In some sense, life is the same way; there will be times when we have to be quick on our feet, and if we aren’t, we face the consequences of our inaction.

However, life on a larger scale is much more complex. As learning adults, our decisions aren’t necessarily always going to be distinctively right or wrong—instead, we are left to make difficult choices based on our experiences, available information, values, or beliefs. 

This, among other things, invites pressure into our lives. Once pressure creeps its way into the picture, our intuition is clouded by outside noise. Living under constant pressure to be productive, make the right decisions, or achieve a deadline is no way to live and is certainly not a lifestyle that will spark self-growth or happiness.

Once pressure is introduced, we may feel inclined to try even harder and become that darn-boiled egg while our fear of becoming the potato grows stronger. However, life is not that black or white — we should strive to be more fluid. 

Doing so means accepting that you may not have all the answers and will make decisions that don't serve your best interests. Does that mean you should live in fear of being wrong? Not at all.

Transfer that energy from a state of pressure into one of acceptance and be humble enough to learn from your mistakes. Accept that you may fail and will undoubtedly fall at times, but you will persevere as you always have. 

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