This summer, tie your chef apron strings, play your favorite music, preheat the oven and get started with the pursuit of chocolate molten lava cake. Whisk the butter and chocolate with sugar and eggs then add the flour. Bake until the sides are firm and the center is soft. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Now that’s a simple recipe for happiness!
The chocolate lava cake blurs the distinction between reality and dreams when the smooth warm molten chocolate slowly rolls over your tongue waking your oldest memories of the good times and leaving an after taste filled with a deep sense of purpose! The chocolate lava cake sets you free. Unless if you are a sick minded calorie counting, carb detesting, fat-free obsessed freak, watching your weight every 15 minutes of the day, eating tasteless organic salads and getting sadistic pleasure from depriving your soul of the good things in life. In that case you should not pursue the chocolate lava cake.
In “Chef” a comedy released last week, Scarlett Johansson plays a brief but important role as a thoughtful waitress at an upscale Los Angeles restaurant. She inspires the frustrated chef played by Jon Favreau, to escape his predicament cooking boring money-making food, and to go start his own food truck in Miami where he can choose to cook whatever he likes and park his mobile shop wherever he wants, without the restraints put by the restaurant owner (played mischievously well by Dustin Hoffman). Dustin Hoffman keeps forcing the chef to stick to the tried and tested menu and does not allow any room for creativity. The last straw that breaks the camel’s back so to speak happens when a renowned food critic criticizes the chocolate lava cake. The chef goes berserk in public, a painful social media war ensues on Twitter as the video of the chef berating the food critic about his complete lack of understanding of what a good chocolate lava cake should taste like, goes viral overnight.
Did the chef leave his secure well-paid job with all the perks to go start his completely uncertain food truck business from scratch? Did he find a new innovative use of corn starch? Did he build a strong bond with his 10-year old son? Well you’ve got to watch the movie. The only spoiler I shall share here is that he ends up extremely happy at the end of the movie.
Confucius the famous Chinese teacher and philosopher who lived more than 2,500 years ago, once said to his disciples: “Find a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life”. I am not sure how well this fine distinction between a “job” and “work” where the latter sounds punitive and negative would have translated from the great sage’s original thought in the Chinese language, but I do think he had a point that applies to this day.
Getting trapped in a boring but somewhat secure place that undermines one’s true potential is all too common in today’s economy. What if I fail with the new venture and cannot come back to where I was? Would people think I am a loser? What would people say behind my back? All of this fear of being judged negatively by our social network seems to be one of the inhibitors to trying out something new.
In a recent report published in the Nature magazine, researchers at Columbia University discovered that mice did not have that part of their brain developed that corresponded to social recognition. Even though mice crave social networking just like humans do, they cannot remember if they have met their fellow mice before! What an amazing deficiency! What if I could do whatever I want and not be judged as a failure if I fail? On the other hand would I feel so thrilled if I were successful with something new but nobody cared or remembered? Hmmmm…perhaps the thrill has to come from inside and not so much from what other people think.
As someone said the biggest risk is to not take any risks in life. If the reward is big enough e.g. achieving true happiness with what I do, the risk is perhaps worth taking. But I also know that fools jump in where the wise fear to tread. So there should be enough caution and discretion used before taking the plunge. I guess there is no general rule that would apply to everyone. Many fail and drown in trying out something new, but we remember only the winners and survivors. I personally believe that even to fail spectacularly might be a worthwhile experience. At least it would be an exhilarating life well spent, a bit like the decadent pursuit of that perfect chocolate molten lava cake.