To Make an Apple Pie – Life Lessons from the Kitchen

THE STORY

When my husband and I were first dating, I decided to impress upon him my culinary skills and bake him an apple pie.

Though I had not made a lot of pies in my life–apple or otherwise–I was confident in my ability to pull it off. I got out my cookbook, carefully selected my ingredients, and set about the task of measuring, sifting, rolling, washing, slicing, mixing, and baking.

The finished product looked just like an apple pie was supposed to look. I had done it.

When my husband came in after our date, I proudly presented him with the pie. He was duly impressed that I had gone to such effort for him, and I remember clearly his asking, “Did you do this for me?”

No one had ever baked anything for him–let alone a pie.

I carefully cut the pie, served it, and waited eagerly for his response. He took one bite and said, “You should get my grandmother’s recipe.”

Now, if you are of the male persuasion and you are reading this, you might be thinking, “How nice that he would offer such great advice!”

If you are female, however, chances are you reacted the same way I did–shocked and appalled that he would dare say such a thing!

I mean, how rude! I had gone to all this work! I had slaved away in the kitchen for him!

How dare he infer that someone else could make a better pie than me!

Hmpf!

I tell this story frequently–when I feel the need to poke fun at the difference between men and women or make a jab at my husband’s “cluelessness.” It’s a harmless little incident that I look back on and laugh.

But my husband is quick to point out that my pie was, in fact, not the best pie in the world, and that his grandmother did, in fact, make pies that were heavenly, and that it’s always a good idea, in fact, to rely on someone else’s expertise when trying to improve your own skill set.

Ugh. I hate it when he is right.

THE LESSON

No matter what you are trying to do in life, chances are someone has already done it or done something similar.

And, as the saying goes, “Success leaves clues.” If someone else is doing what you want to do–whether it’s making money, starting a business, being in a happy marriage, raising amazing kids, or baking a pie-what good is it to try and forge your own way? Just ask for the recipe.

Too many people look at the results of failures to judge whether or not they themselves can do something.

These are the people who look at Uncle Joe, who started a business and lost his shirt, or who look at divorce statistics and decide marriage is not for them.

This is nuts.

If Martha Stewart can bake a pie, I can, too. And a hundred or a thousand people could tell me that it’s impossible to bake a pie, that “that pie baking stuff never works,” and that I might as well quit before I begin, and it wouldn’t matter. Why? Because Martha did it, and she gave me the recipe.

You see, you really can have what you want. But you must turn a deaf ear to the naysayers and turn all your attention to those who have gone before, who have laid the path, and have left clues.

TAKE ACTION

Are you frustrated with the results you are getting in some area of your life? Take action!

Today’s action step: Actively seek out people who have done what you are trying to do. Listen to them, and only to them!

You wouldn’t take medical advice from someone who had only been to the doctor. You wouldn’t take career advice from someone who flips burgers at MacDonald’s. Only take advice from people who are successful at what you want to be successful at. Period.

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