A group of successful people, at the height of their careers, all of whom had enviable jobs and social positions, cars and houses, paid a visit to a former professor in college. The discussion gradually slipped towards how stressful and exhausting everyday life is.
The teacher asked them if they wanted to have a good coffee and came back from the kitchen with a large bowl full of coffee and lots of cups. Some were made of fine porcelain, others of glass, plastic, some looking normal, others very delicate and expensive, some with gilded inserts, others with a chiseled handle, and asked each of them to serve themselves.
When they all had a cup of coffee in their hands, the teacher said to them: “If you have noticed, each of you has put coffee in an expensive and fine cup, leaving the simple and cheap empty cups on the table. It’s normal to want the best in life, but that’s the source of the problems and the stress you have every day.
No matter which cup you chose, the coffee tastes the same. The cup does not add any quality to the coffee. In most cases it just makes it more expensive or, in other cases, we can’t see what’s actually inside. What you actually wanted was coffee, not cup, and yet, unconsciously, you chose the most expensive and good cups. And then you started looking at each other’s cup thinking it was more beautiful than yours.
Life is like a good coffee! The job, the money, the career, the car, the house, the clothes, the position in society are the cups. It just helps us to live our lives, but they’re not life. The clothes we have, our position in society and money are not about life. I don’t define what life is. On the contrary, most people who have a lot are envious of others who have more and fail to enjoy what they have.
Sometimes, by focusing only on the cup, we forget to savor the coffee. Enjoy the coffee, not the cups! The happiest people are not the ones who have the most things. The happiest people know how to enjoy as much as possible what they have, where they have, in the present moment. They make life beautiful.”