You May Not Know How, But You Can Always Learn

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

How many of you watch those cooking shows on TV? They have special channels dedicated to cooking – several of them. They have shows for any style of cooking you can imagine, whether it’s baked, fried, broiled, boiled, steamed, barbecued, or just set out in the sun to cook itself. They even have special shows where junior chefs make us all feel stupid.

If there’s ever anything you wanted to learn to cook, it’s there. They even have special episodes dedicated to really tough dishes like French toast. Apparently, there’s more to it than eggs and stale bread. Of course, you can’t just have French toast. It has to be served with hand-drawn butter, Chantilly cream, and some type of alcohol.

I know this because my wife watches these shows a lot. Whether it’s the rancher’s wife making burritos, cake decorators making a full-size replica of a 747, or the guy who travels the country looking for diners most of us would drive right past, Americans’ preoccupation with food is apparently eclipsed only by our fascination with “Breaking News.”

If you’ve read this far, I can only assume you’ve seen at least one or two of these shows. So, here’s my question – do you record the shows or take copious notes so you can replicate those dishes on your own? Or is it more like watching khaki-clad idiots grab deadly snakes by the tail? “Fascinating, but you’ll never catch ME doing that!”

We all like to know how things work. Well, most of us. My oldest daughter doesn’t care what happens under the hood, as long as the car starts when she presses the button. “You mean it needs gas?” Okay, I’m kidding. She knows it needs gas. I think she can even identify a spark plug, in a line-up of tires and brake parts. Just don’t ask her to install one.

I can say that because she never reads my posts. But in complete honesty, she’s pretty handy with a set of tools. She just chooses not to use them unless there’s no other choice. But when she was a young single mother, I taught her how to replace her own brakes. She did the work herself, and the car actually stopped, which is the true measure of success.

I remember telling her when she finished that she may never do that again, but she’d always know she could. I’m pretty sure she only heard the first part of that sentence because, to my knowledge, she’s never done it again. But she doesn’t have to. She makes enough money to let somebody else do the dirty work. All she had to do is change diapers.

Give somebody the right training and tools, and there’s not much they can’t do. Even brain surgery is simply a matter of training and tools. Thankfully, we have laws on how much training that requires, and exactly what kind of tools you’re allowed to use. Even then, you have to carry malpractice insurance. That’s comforting.

But there isn’t much we couldn’t do if we set our minds to it. Could you play a guitar like Eric Clapton? Probably. Could you paint like Michelangelo? Maybe. Could you build a successful business and build the life of your dreams? Absolutely. If one person can do it, most anybody can. It’s just a matter of how hard we’re willing to try.

While one person may have a natural talent for something that sets them apart, at the end of the day it’s still a matter of process and practice – learning what to do and then doing it until we get good. This is why ten-year-olds are able to create gourmet desserts without a recipe card. It’s not a gift they were born with – it’s one they wanted.

More often than not, our limitations come from within. That may be intentional or coincidental. I’ve never learned much about plumbing. That’s by design. I don’t want to know, because if I do, somebody will invariably ask me to do it. On the other hand, I’ve never tried to learn anything about accounting. When assets have to equal liabilities, I’m lost.

Could I learn these things? Sure. Do I want to? Well, not so far but that can always change depending on the circumstances. But make no mistake, if anything can be done by anybody, you can learn to do it also. Maybe not as quickly or as well, but the ugliest birthday cake I’ve ever eaten was also the best.

If there’s something you want to do, then do it. If you don’t know how, find somebody who’s willing to show you. There’s nothing you can’t learn, and not much you can’t master. It’s just a matter of how badly you want it.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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