Don’t be afraid of a bad meal.
I was listening to an interview with the late Anthony Bourdain and one small throw away quote has become wedged in my mind:
Don’t be afraid of a bad meal. If you don’t risk the bad meal, you’ll never get the magical one.
It’s about taking risks, making mistakes, and the process of doing that. It’s one of those quotes that resonates for me because it seems to encapsulate a balance between being proactive and being brave. In the context of the discussion, it seemed like a way to work through getting comfortable with failure, change, and risk so you can open up opportunity, improvement or experience.
When we don’t take risks, we never feel empowered by our potential. What we do is stay busy to avoid looking at the truth that we are not living up to our potential.
You can’t get a magical meal if you never take a risk in the first place. If you never get a bad meal, you will likely miss out on that magical moment.
We all want this magical feeling, but we don’t want to put in any work. We don’t want to face our failures and learn from them. We don’t want to look at our successes and understand how we did them so we can replicate them.
It might mean learning something new or stepping out of your comfort zone. But whatever it means for you, there is one thing that is true for all of us:
If we are going to succeed, at anything really — whether professional success or a simple desire to be better than where we are now — then risk is an essential part of the process. It doesn’t mean leaping into the unknown without any preparation at all; instead, it means taking small steps forward while minimizing risk by doing research and planning ahead as best as possible.
We are afraid of making mistakes and don’t want to bother looking at things in perspective when they go wrong.
When things don’t go our way, we often tend to lose all perspective and think that we are the only ones who ever made a mistake. We feel so alone — as if we’re the only people who have ever been on the receiving end of a bad meal.
However, the truth is that any human being can make a mistake — it is simply inevitable. Even if you do your best to avoid making mistakes, you will still end up making them because they come part and parcel of living as a human being in this world. Mistakes are not an inherent sign of failure; instead, they are some of our greatest teachers.
But how can you learn from your mistakes when you’re upset about them? How can you be grateful for your mistakes when they just seem like embarrassing failures? And how do you get over those feelings so that you can use your mistakes to improve yourself?
We always want to be in control of every part of our lives, but it doesn’t work like that.
The world is a little (a lot) out of control. It’s hard to accept that, because we all want to be the masters of our own fates and know exactly what’s going to happen next. But the reality is that you can’t do those things. You can’t control what other people do, or the weather, or even your future. You only have limited control over your decisions, and you certainly can’t control how other people feel about them.
So I say let it go a little — embrace the wonderful weirdness of this crazy life we’ve got going on here. Stop expecting everything to go according to plan, because it won’t! And when something doesn’t work out exactly how you wanted — it’ll be fine in the end. I promise!
Sometimes people get consumed by their failures; they just can’t get past them. If you allow your failures to hold you back, then you’ll never move forward.
Of course, you can’t get the magical meal if you’re not willing to risk a bad one — experience is experience no matter how it turns out. And that’s really what I mean by “failing forward.” You have to keep moving forward and not let your failures stop you. If you fail at something, then learn from it so that next time, you can do better. And get back up again; don’t stay down on the floor like a sad sack of potatoes.
It’s also important to remember that failure is just as much a part of life as success is — if not moreso! You’ll probably fail way more than you succeed in life. It’s also likely that some people will try to tell you something is impossible or “can’t be done,” but those are probably people who are giving up because they don’t want to take the risk of failing again after having failed once before. Don’t let these naysayers hold you back from your dreams!
If you don’t risk the bad meal, you’ll never get the magical one.
If you never risk a bad meal, you’ll never get the magical one. You may not find the restaurant that changes your life. You might miss the neighborhood hole-in-the-wall that becomes your go-to spot to eat on Wednesday nights. You could have gone through life without eating tacos in Tulum or tiramisu in Florence.
The world would be ok if you didn’t take a chance on a new cuisine or cookbook. But it’s better when you do.
Take risks. Keep trying new things until something works out for you.
You should always keep trying new things until you find something that works out for you. If you’re afraid to try something new, then chances are the thing you’re already doing is boring and not working out for you. Keep trying things until one of them sticks.
If your current strategy isn’t working out, try a different one! Don’t get stuck in a rut. You can either do something or do nothing; I recommend doing something, even if it doesn’t work at first.