Tuesday, December 12, 2017
A Million Oysters
One of the world's finest chefs crashed and burned. He was at the absolute apex of one of the world's mostly subjective and challenging professions serving transformational cuisine in Paris. With his success came the pressure to be original, creative and relevant.... every evening. With that pressure came substance abuse and the manipulation of those around him. When his vices disabled him, his restaurant (an art gallery for the palate).... closed. His friends were left unemployed and those who yearned for the art he produced depraved.
Chef did not seek rehab, the company of family or the comfort of friends. He sentenced himself to shucking 1,000,000 oysters. He moved from being the finest chef at the finest restaurant in Paris to the most painful form preparing meals in the french quarter (back on US turf).
I believe each milestone in life starts by eliminating the things in your life that are distracting you. Be it alcohol or the people who serve it.... sometimes, you have to drop everything that makes you feel good in order to check your privilege.
What have you eliminated?
Have you checked your privilege?
There are people whose lives are inescapably terrible. If you are not one of those people, let's start from there.
A Back Pack
If you had to leave the planet today with only a back pack, what would you bring with you?
Those who have children, spouses and mortgages have their anchor sunk deep. With every inch the anchor sinks, one's heart fills with a little more love. With every person dependent upon you, the privilege of leadership becomes greater and the rewards for service more profound.
Are you a leader?
Very few will accept the responsibility of supporting others if someone else is willing to do it. The other who took the job simply proclaimed that he would.... and so it was.....
... and that's not OK
The first way of distinguishing what is genuinely important to you is by identifying what is not, then determining where your time will be spent.
Have you done your job as well as you possibly can?
Are the most important people in your life those you assume are consistently aware of your affection?
Without sharing affection have you depraved the very people who deserve the majority of your attention?
I bet you remember where you were when you made the best decision of your life... ? You may have forgotten where you were when you made the worst decision of your life. Losing focus is not an abrupt process, it's a slow burn.
Do you need to shuck a million oysters to find out who you really are?
The problem with human beings is that we are rarely self-aware enough to monitor the slow burn that is making us complacent. Then we look up and we are 65 years old and no one finds us useful anymore.
"Make me something somebody can use" - John K. Samson
The people I know who have experienced genuine success did so by always being willing to do the least glamorous work. Maintaining an underdog mentality without forgetting where you came from will keep you sharp. When you forget what got you here, you may no longer have it.
Protect the Dream
Being a parent requires an extraordinary amount of realism which also can serve to suck the optimism out of an individual. I enjoy hanging out with kids more than adults because they've not yet been jaded by the world's cruel reality (which makes them more mature). We all forget our innocence, get desperate and do things out of spite. When spite is the impetus of success you have truly lost your way.
The best moments of your life are still ahead of you. Where will you be when they happen?
Don't destroy your potential to the point that you have to shuck a million oysters. Don't let anyone mock your potential if you've been slotted into a category that you hate.
Categories suck and so does hate.... don't waste your time on either!
Don't Forget to Remember!