No you didn’t fall of the email list. I just didn’t do a blog last week. I decided to try my hand at decorating sugar cookies instead. Why? Why not? My son was performing in a cello recital and I wanted to bring some fun food.
I watched a video and thought, Hmmm this looks easy enough. So I gave it a try. Wow, was my experience a lot different than the one of the woman in the video. My entire kitchen and my body were covered in flour, icing, icing dye, utensils. It was a major mess. As of this writing, I still haven’t mastered the skill but I haven’t given up. I heard Mark Cuban say the other day that he spent 10 years becoming an overnight success. So if and when I achieve cookies designs that are magazine worthy beautiful, I’m going to tell everyone it was easy.
Years ago I used to give a lecture with a slide show that contained a slide of a young woman sitting on the back of a lawn chair at the beach. I used to ask the audience if they wished they could look like the perfect model featured and many said yes. Then I let them know the model on the magazine probably wished for that as well, because the photo had been digitally enhanced to make her look the way she was portrayed.
Despite knowing this, so many of us deplete ourselves by trying to achieve the look that we feel someone else has, even if we have no idea how authentic their success is or isn’t. Is it any wonder that we are a nation functioning in large part due to antidepressants? How can we foster happiness when we live in a perpetual state of feeling as if we are incapable of achieving what we believe others have, in a system that is basically rigged?
I’m not playing the victim card. Anything but! I’m playing the “use your critical thinking skills” card. I’m not suggesting that it’s a bad idea to try and achieve a goal. But the goal should be realistic and personal rather than as a way to mimic another that you hold in unrealistic esteem. Even if that person has genuinely achieved a particular goal, you can’t possibly have all of the same predispositions and life conditioning experiences to achieve exactly what they have done. And they aren’t you. You have gifts that they can’t or won’t achieve.
So here is what really happened since I started this blog post. The first batch of cookies looked really horrible. Picture a kind of “Picasso” cello where none of the parts line up quite right. And they didn’t taste very good. So I gave it my best shot and made a second batch. And they looked well, slightly less horrible, but they tasted really good. So I took those to the recital. They were to be eaten, not hung in a gallery and thus, I deemed them “good enough”.
I’m still planning on taking a live class this weekend because I still want to learn. But I don’t feel badly about not knowing how to decorate beautiful cookies. I’ve had no practice, I’m not particularly artistic, and frankly, I have virtually no idea what I’m doing. The woman in the video made beautiful cookies, but I’m going to guess that she wouldn’t make a good therapist. And even if she would, I suspect there are still other gifts that I possess which she does not.
This week, instead of looking at something that someone else has that you don’t, try focusing in on your gifts. This may require that you look at yourself a little differently than you do normally. If you want to take a real risk in growth, tell someone else about something you do really well. Celebrate yourself! And if you need any decorated cookies to help you celebrate, call me. I just can’t guarantee you’ll recognize them as what I say they are.