Success Awaits, but Sometimes You’ve Gotta Try the Etouffee

Good morning, and happy Friday!  I hope your day is starting off well.

The other night, we were watching The Princess Diaries. Yes, it’s an old movie and yes, I’m a guy. But I think we established in yesterday’s post that I’m not overly macho. Any chest hair on this body was purely accidental, and it doesn’t have many neighbors.

There was a line in that movie that I wrote down, because I knew it would come in handy someday. I had no idea it would be so soon, or that it would be over something as simple as looking at a dinner menu. But, especially in the deep south, that can be an adventure in itself. “The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all.” That was the line.

I thought about that as I looked over a menu in southern Louisiana that included everything from plain old cheeseburgers to a seafood platter full of stuff I can’t even pronounce. And I know from the few times my mom tried making Creole dishes, there’s a certain art to it. Let’s just say Mom was no artist. At least not in that regard. But dammit, she tried!

So, in Mom’s honor, I decided to sample some of the local cuisine. I asked the waitress for a recommendation and ended up with fried catfish and crawfish etouffee over rice.

For those who don’t know, etouffee is a French word for stew. And stew is an American word for “whatever we had sitting around.” In Creole country, etouffee simply means, “don’t ask.” But I didn’t come this far to eat cheeseburgers. You only live once. And you’re not really living if you never try anything new.

If you want my review of crawfish etouffee, you can skip to the end or just keep reading, because I really am hoping to make a point with this. You see, I’ve always been the guy who goes into the same restaurants and never looks at the menu, because I already know what I’m going to eat. If the chef wanted to poison me, they could plan it weeks in advance.

But when it comes to other things, I’ve always been a little more adventuresome. Especially on the job, I’ve never been afraid to try something new, to stretch my boundaries a bit, and raise my hand when everybody else is sitting on theirs. It’s served me well over the years, and I’ve seen some impressive career success that can’t be explained any other way.

Another quote that fits this topic is one you’ve heard from me before … to have something you’ve never had, you must do something you’ve never done. It means stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new. And that’s scary. But if what you’ve been doing all these years was ever going to work, it would have already happened.

When we open our mind to new ideas, opportunities for success grow exponentially. We experience things we never knew and learn new skills we never imagined. Some of those skills and experiences are a bust. There are parts of every success that are as enjoyable as steamed Brussels sprouts. Yes, I’ve tried them. Many times.

But other things we thought we would never like become second-nature. After a while, we may even come to enjoy them. And some will become our favorite part of the journey. If you had told me forty years ago I would spend my life writing system requirements, I would never have given up drinking. But nobody else wanted to do it, so I did. And I positively love it.

Ask somebody to describe their dreams, and their eyes light up. We love sharing the things that excite us. And the more excited a person is about their dreams, the more likely they are to achieve them. Until you show them a way to do it, a way that isn’t exactly what they’d planned. “Yeah, I won’t be doing that!”

So, what’s more important … reaching your goal, or how you get there? You can always follow the same path everyone else is on, and it may lead you to your dreams. But odds are, if you try something the rest of them aren’t willing try, you’ll get there faster. And you may even get someplace better, someplace so amazing you’d never even dreamed of it.

My first bite of crawfish etouffee was a bit of a shock to the tastebuds. But the second bite was a lot more pleasant, and I found myself thoroughly enjoying a dish I would never have tried a few years ago. Most of all, I gained the courage to try something else new.

The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all. Open your mind. Throw caution to the wind. Dreams await those who are willing to try something new. Are you?

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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