A lesson in character- when life shakes you…

I read something interesting on Facebook and it took a long time to fully internalize. If you’re going through a difficult time, or if you’ve been doing some introspection, this may be helpful.

The post goes something like this:

“You’re walking while holding a cup of coffee and somebody bumps into you, causing you to spill your coffee.

Why did you spill your coffee? You’re probably saying ‘because somebody ran into me of course!’

But what if the reason you spilled the coffee is because there was coffee in your cup? If you were holding tea, you would’ve spilled tea. And if you were holding water, you would’ve spilled water.

Life will shake you. And when it does, what is inside you (what is inside your cup) will spill out.”


Image result for spilled coffee


At first, I thought it made no sense at all! I was like “well if I was minding my own business with my cup of whatever and somebody runs into me, how would that be my fault?!”

But after much thought, here is the key takeaway I got:

Character can’t be judged solely on what you’re like during the good times. True character is revealed during the trying times- times when life shakes you.


In such a fast paced world, it’s extremely difficult to practice self awareness. When we’re constantly pelted with tasks, stress, and distractions…who really has time to try to know themselves?

So if you’re reading this post, regardless if you’re having a good or bad time lately, I invite you to step back from the madness of day-to-day life and look at what’s inside your “cup”.


Related image


Lately, I’ve been getting very frustrated over everything little thing that isn’t going my way.  My work life that has been shaking me, and the frustration from that has started to pool into my personal life. It made me realize that I have a lot of anger inside my cup.


You see, if somebody’s heart is full of greed and ego, it will spill out when life rattles them. If somebody is full of self-doubt and insecurity, it will spill out. Similarly if their heart is full of gratitude and resilience. What ever is inside their heart, it will come out when life shakes them. 


Back to my case, life shook me and a lot of rage and blame spilled out. I realized that it ties in with some problems I have- such as taking criticism personally. It was an unexpected revelation since I thought I was in a mentally better place. It certainly hasn’t been easy calling myself out when it’s so easy to blame other people. But I feel like I’ve taken a step forward by writing this post. Now, I can focus on how fill full my cup with more patience and open-mindedness. 


When the world shakes us with a sudden change or a barrage of unlucky events, it’s not just an opportunity to grow. It’s also a lesson in self awareness. If you’ve read this far, I invite you to ask yourself “what has been spilling out of my cup”, or “if life shook me, what is going to spill?”



Hugs and kisses,

~ Jin

You can also find me on my personal blog


Author: Jin Cao

I am a multi-faceted designer, fashion blogger, makeup enthusiast, lover of cats, and connoisseur of ramen! Writer of LeggingsandLacquer.com Main fashion writer of Onahjung.com Find my work at Jinmartini.com

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