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The Spilled Coffee Test

April 9th, 2017 · 9 Comments · Real-life Adventure Tales, Weird Things About Me



The Spilled Coffee Test . . . 


How to know if you’re happy and centered . . .

Something I’ve being using for decades . . . 

Very simple — 

If I ding (or worse) my coffee cup (or whatever) and cause a spill on the table (or wherever) my split-second reaction is an infallible indicator of my state of mind and life.

This also applies to any other accident from your car to stubbing your toe to any kind of mishap one experiences in life.

There’s three types of instant reaction:

1) You laugh at the absurdity of it, the silliness, the test of it.  If your life is going well, if you’ve got all of your shit together, “spilled coffee” makes you laugh at yourself and circumstance.

2) You’re not bothered — it’s just something that happens and you clean up the mess unaffected one way or the other.

3) You yell a curse word in anger, maybe throw or kick something, or lash out at in anger.


Someone might ask you, or you might ask yourself, if you’re happy (centered, grounded, in control, in love with your life, as ol’ JK would say) and you can give any kind of answer to that: what you think they want to hear, what you want to tell yourself.

But in that unexpected moment where you have a mishap / accident — and before you have time to think about it — that’s your real true reaction, the real true measurement of your mental well-being.  You don’t have time in that split second to remember what some self-help guru or religion or philosophy taught you.  In that split-second you either (basically) laugh or curse.

I monitor like a hawk this reaction in myself.  The majority of one’s reactions are probably in the middle — you just take it in stride, neither too upset nor laugh, but simply clean it up and keep moving forward.

BUT — when I curse I know something is really wrong in my soul —in my approach — in the equilibrium in my life.  You can’t b.s. this reaction.  In regular life moments you can come up with all sorts of rationalizations and explanations convincing yourself you’re happy — but if you catch yourself cursing at life’s minor misfortunes you really need to get off the field and sit on the bench until you’ve got yourself back to that happy centered place.

When I let out a little (or big) laugh at the misfortune / accident — I know I’m in The Zone.

And when “in the zone” it’s a time to go furthur — push yourself — go that other place — take chances — swing for the fences.  It’s a real-life occurrence you can observe in sports — when an athlete gets on an inexplicable hot streak and everything he or she does works for a period of time.  It can also be the case with an artist in any medium — when they’re channeling the Spirits and can almost do no wrong creatively.  Bob Dylan said he doesn’t know the person who wrote those songs circa 1964–66.  There are times when all the mental / spiritual / physical forces are lined up and the flow is pure and uninterrupted.  Ideally, that’s where one strives to live all the time — and when I find myself laughing at spilled coffee (or any other misfortune) I know I’m in that zone.

Conversely, when I get angry at a slight slip, and metaphorically, or worse, literally, throw the coffee mug across the room — I know it’s time for a “time out.”  This little moment is the Spirits’ way of showing you you’re off your game.  Getting back on your game is the subject of countless books and philosophies and prolly religions, too, and every person has to find their own way.  But “spilled coffee” is God or nature’s way of sticking a thermometer into your life and taking your mental health temperature.  And I pay close attention to the results of every such test.

And P.S. —

This is not to be confused with “don’t cry over spilled milk” which is a lesson about not worrying about something (small) that happened in the past.  That’s also a lesson to learn and internalize.  What I’m talking about here is a thermometer.  An instantaneous measurement of mindset that you can’t fake because it happens naturally and without planning.

And it tells you the truth about YOU.  😉 


= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =


Here’s something along these lines — Everyday Is A Gift

Or you can simply Be The Invincible Spirit You Are

Or here’s a nice one — Love Is

Or here’s an uplifting tale of the Dalai Lama in Central Park


= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

by Brian Hassett  —   —

Or here’s my Facebook account if you wanna follow things there —


9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Deanna Waters // Apr 9, 2017 at 9:31 AM

    Very insightful article Brian. The real YOU reveals itself with that spilt coffee.
    You are on a mission and people’s lives are changing.

  • 2 Dawn Mathews // Apr 9, 2017 at 9:51 AM

    Love it! Being grateful for having coffee to spill places the gratitude blanket over irritation and makes life sweet again. Inspired by you.

    You and Jack Kerouac are alike in many ways, your sincerity and enthusiasm of life and her people.

  • 3 Mary Jo Hicks-Sullivan // Apr 9, 2017 at 12:37 PM

    Mary Jo Hicks-Sullivan The simplest solution is “don’t drink coffee.” I jest of course. I have to add to this article that my reaction depends where I am and who I am with. The people that can laugh with me and help me stay in control are my dearest friends. I have come to realize that others really don’t have a place in my life. As a mom I have been working on this for 22 years. I am much better at it now with my sweet 12 year old. I do have to stop before I speak but I find myself not sweating the small stuff like spilled coffee or milk the way I did when I was a new mom. It is a wonder my first born turned out as well adjusted as she has.

  • 4 Brian // Apr 9, 2017 at 1:09 PM

    Coffee — spilled or otherwise — is pretty hard to avoid in this modern age. 🙂
    Glad to hear you sweated out the small stuff and are limbered up with great results for all your efforts. <3

  • 5 Deb Reul // Apr 9, 2017 at 3:15 PM

    Thanks for this. And for being YOU!!

  • 6 Sarah Cattell // Apr 9, 2017 at 5:14 PM

    You told me about this years ago ….. so cool to read it in print. Stay dry!!!! 🙂

  • 7 Nicklas Millner // Apr 9, 2017 at 5:40 PM

    Work In Progress ⛔⛔⛔ proceed w caution, at risk, of fun, and adventures!!!!

  • 8 Karen Ridd // Apr 10, 2017 at 12:41 AM

    Nice…. thanks!

  • 9 Brian Humniski // Apr 10, 2017 at 8:42 AM

    Great advice for seeing yourself. I will be looking out for my next spill.

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