‘Chef’ and ‘cook’ are incorrectly used as synonyms. Cooks excel when they can implement recipes created by others, perhaps with their own added flare.
Chefs invent recipes. They use first principles as ingredients, and achieve outcomes using creative means, sometimes constructing something never seen before.
Copy or create? Conventional wisdom or new design? Neither is superior. There is a wise place for each. Food is just a metaphor here. It’s valuable to reflect on whether you’re operating as one or the other in each important area of your life.
It’s funny how we say ‘I am angry’ but no one would think to say ‘I am a broken arm.’ We know that we are not equal to our emotions, we only experience them (for a much shorter time than an injury). Just because you feel, think, or even say something out loud, doesn’t mean it has to define you forever.
You are not your thoughts.
An important distinction of mindfulness is remembering that you don’t have to believe everything you think.
We live in a time where there are fewer gatekeepers. If you want to be an artist, an actor, a business person, a singer…you don’t have to wait for the studios, agents, TV stations, or record labels to “discover” you.
People who claim they’re working for their “piece of the pie” don’t understand that we live in the world’s most amazing kitchen. You can make your own pie.
You no longer need permission. You don’t need to wait to be picked. Choose yourself.
It’s surprising that our education system doesn’t stress effective ways to collaborate and verbally communicate with other humans, given that whatever careers we choose or lives we have will require these skills.
One simple but important “recipe” I often refer back to is the three steps to an effective apology:
- Say you’re sorry
- Acknowledge how your action affected someone else
- Identify what you’ll do to right the wrong, and ensure it won’t happen again
The American education system trains us to make decisions based on knowing “all” the information. No one consistently gets A’s on tests after internalizing 70% of the material. You want to be 95%+ sure before committing to an answer.
In real life very few decisions are irreversible. It’s rare that you can’t move forward with 70% confidence, course-correcting on the way.
Most post-game analysis reveals the importance of gathering 40-70% of the insight needed before making a decision, but that there is little reason – and even adverse affects – for trying to acquire more than 70% certainty.
Paralysis by analysis can hold you back. You don’t have to be an A student in everything. Life isn’t pass/fail.
Effectiveness is doing things that move you closer to your goals. Efficiency is doing things (whether effective or not) economically.
Efficiency without regard for effectiveness is the default mode of humans, which is why we park our cars close to the gym, only to go inside and walk on a treadmill for 45 minutes.
Technology and automation make it possible to easily apply efficiency to tasks that don’t matter. To counter this, focus on processes and tasks that are worth doing because they move you towards your goals, and only then work to make them more efficient.
An Olympic gold medal winning crew team had a coach that challenged the athletes to a simple but powerful litmus test for every decision they made during training season.
Ask the question: Will this make the boat go faster? Should I stay out late tonight? Eat this doughnut? Skip my next workout? It doesn’t take a high IQ to derive the answer to a question that precise.
What life goal is meaningful enough to you that you can create your own version of this question?