Failure is an option

Feb 21, 2018 | Cooking Tips

It has become somewhat taboo to talk about failure in the world we live in today. Despite the fact that failure is a common fact of the human condition, it is linked to feelings of shame, disappointment, and regret. Failure can be frustrating, it can be embarrassing, and it can be expensive. There is a phrase in common use that states that “failure is not an option”. I am here to tell you that it absolutely is, and sometimes it is the better of two choices. You don’t always get to choose whether you fail or succeed, but you do get to choose whether you view failure are a negative or a positive.

Failure can be seen as either the end of a journey or the beginning of one. It can be used as a tool for growth or an excuse for stagnation. It can a driving force forward, or a wall that stops you in your tracks. Failure is all about perspective. Just because there is an 80 year old grandmother than can cook, and there is a 12 year old kid that can cook, and you can’t cook, you are not failure as long as you try, and you work towards getting better. The only failure that is unacceptable is the failure of not trying at all.

Cooking brings with it a unique and often detrimental universality. As it is such a common task, and one that is shared by everyone everywhere, it is often seen as binary. You can either do it, or you can’t. This is not true. I have yet to meet a person who cannot be taught to cook. As long as there is some level of interest, some level of desire, anyone can be taught. Not everyone is going to be Gordon Ramsay, and why would you want to be? However, everyone can learn to be a decent home cook. The secret of course, is failure.

Being afraid to fail is a failure unto itself. It is an easy trap to fall into, but one that is important to recognize for personal growth. In cooking, just like with anything else, you learn more from your failures than you do your successes. The specific issue with cooking is that universality I was talking about earlier. Due to the fact that cooking is such a common thing, people are terrified to fail at it. If you fail at something that literally anyone can do, what does that say about you? Does it say that you are an idiot? Does it say that you are incapable of learning? Does it say that you will never be able to cook? No! It doesn’t say any of those things. It says, that you have not taken the time to learn a common skill. That’s it. But you can!

In learning, failure must be an option. This is just as true for learning to cook as it is for learning to ride a bike. When you were taught to ride a bike without training wheels, I doubt you were expected to be perfect the instant you started pedaling. Right? You can’t get upset that you suck at cooking if you’ve never taken the time to learn. That mindset will lead to a vicious circle of self doubt and sabotage. You need to accept the fact that you are a failure just like everyone else. That 80 year old grandmother cooking up a storm in her kitchen was not born able to cook. She was taught, she failed, and she learned.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably further ahead than a lot of people. You’re might be just starting your culinary journey, or you may be a seasoned veteran looking for a hot new tip. Either way, I hope that you are able to take something from this post. And if you know someone who should really read this. Share it with them. People need to cook, but they also need to know that it’s okay to fail.



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