Life lessons in a tea bag

* Krishna * (CA Student) (6149 Points)

08 February 2012  

DID you know how the tea bag was born? The story goes that Thomas Sullivan, a tea merchant in New York created the tea bag – almost by accident. He put some samples of his tea into exquisite silk bags and sent them to friends. One friend didn’t bother to pull out the tea from the bag and just dunked it into hot water. He loved the tea. And an idea was born!

It’s probably true of a lot of great ideas around us. They were created by accident, not design. They came to life because someone dared to do something different. As you sip your next cup of tea, here are some lessons to take away from the humble tea bag. Lessons to help make your life the perfect brew!

1. What counts is what’s inside the tea bag. You will notice that some tea bags have very nice-looking labels, while others have very ordinary looking ones. Some have delicate silk tassels while others have ordinary strings. But here’s the thing to remember: The quality of the beverage is determined by the tea inside the bag – not by the label or the string.

What’s true for tea bags is true for all of us too. The titles, the clothes we wear and the cars we drive are like the label and the string. They may make you look nice. But what really matters is the kind of person you are, deep down within. Your beliefs and your attitude – that’s what defines the person you are. The tea masters know that to make a great drink, they need to focus on the tea. Not on the label and the string. Focus on being a good human being. Fix your attitude. Get your values right. And don’t fret about the small stuff.


2. A tea bag must be porous. Imagine you have the best tea leaves in the world. And you put it into a bag that’s impermeable. It won’t work. You just won’t be able to make a cup of tea. For the tea bag to work, it needs to be porous. You need the tea leaves and the water to come in contact.

In our lives too, we cannot survive and thrive in isolation. Be careful not to build a wall around yourself that prevents people from reaching out to you. You need to be able to touch other people too. Else, all that’s inside of you will remain wasted – untouched by all the good around you, and unable to impact all that’s around you. The tea was meant to mingle with the water. Just as all of us were designed to work with other people, with teams, with society at large.

3. The real flavour comes through only when the tea bag gets into hot water. If you take a cup of lukewarm water and put a tea bag in it – you won’t know how strong the tea is. To get the best flavour, you need to put the tea bag into hot water. And then the real strength will show! Likewise, the true character of a person actually shines through in adversity. How does a person behave under pressure, when he is in ‘hot water’? The hot water test is a good one – to judge the quality of the tea. And the true character of human beings.

4. Good tea bags look forward to hot water. They know it will give them a chance to show their true worth. So next time you see a challenge, a tough situation, think like a tea bag and dive headlong into it. It may be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for to show what you are capable of. Some of us are so scared of the hot water that we stay away from it. Too scared of getting scalded. Afraid of failure. Don’t let that happen to you! Give yourself a chance to show the world what you are really all about!

Next time you pick up a cup of tea, enjoy the moment. And think of the lessons too!

Your beliefs and your attitude – that’s what defines the person you are.

Get your values right.