What Have You Learned by Creating Magic?

Do you live in a foodie house?

Do you come home to the sounds and smells of a warm kitchen that promises a nourishing connection of stories, love and a yummy meal?

In my house, we don’t do that. 

We go with what we know, and it’s usually spontaneous. Very little planning and very little experimentation.

Food is not an intentional thing, but we do eat. In our household meals are by default, not design. As a single dad, I’m the same cook now as I was when I was married with all four of us under the same roof. It tastes good, and it’s healthy, but my personal growth has never expanded to the culinary arts. The bulk of my calories are consumed at the sink. I love food, but my focus is elsewhere. 

I also notice my focus is on reducing risks, but first … some history:

Not growing up in one of those homes that prepared regular meals, I’m utilitarian about dining. I was raised by a single mother who had to work. She showed her love in other ways like hugs, knock-knock jokes, and grammar lessons. We never missed a meal, but her food was practical, not fancy.

Conversations about food went like this: 

Mom, what do we have to eat?

Check the fridge. I think we have some leftovers you can warm up.” 


There were always leftovers. I’m not ungrateful, but leftovers were so omnipresent I could never recall the original meal that produced the leftovers. It’s like the genesis of the meal was the leftovers. Can you just cook leftovers from the beginning? I still don’t get the math of it, but that’s what it was. 

Ok. I digress.

Back to reducing risks: Part of this last-minute-thinking about food is old habit, but I’m also noticing an aversion to taking chances. That limits what I’m able to learn! Cooking something new doesn’t imply dire consequences, but it’s a platform for learning.

That brings me to discuss a friend of mine who we’ll call “Greig.” He’s a more adventurous guy. 

A typical day for him starts like this:

I think I’ll pan fry some trout tonight,” he proclaims intrepidly … throwing caution to the wind and still in bed with his eyes closed. His first words of the day are about preparing food.

Greig likes to cook, so he’s thinking about it a lot, but mostly he likes to learn and try new things. Learning may even be a Core Value of his. He’s a great cook, and could have been a chef. He makes use of cookbooks regularly. Some are new, but most are greatly worn artifacts with splattered pages, scribbled up Post-it notes, highlighted inserts, with taped-back-together pages and whatnot. He learns something each time he cooks through a courageous blend of following the rules and experimentation.

If you’ve ever eaten at his house, you know it’s worth it.  

I’ve never opened a cookbook in my life. I like learning if it’s easy, but have rarely applied it to cooking. When I’m in need of cooking advice, I call my aunt, or Greig…. or I YouTube it. Mostly, I just wing it … then add salt

Here’s the point – Greig could cook the same thing over and over like I do, but he’s dedicated to learning new stuff. I don’t know if he grew up with home cooked meals every night, but his kids did and I’m sure they all learned something.

This organizational fundamental about learning something new is not just about getting new knowledge, but it’s about the mindset that allows for learning. Part of it says “Challenge yourself to take risks outside your comfort zone …. ”

That challenge is a catalyst for breakthroughs. 

Greig causes breakthroughs for himself. He does the tinkering work that inventors do, and he does it with the patience and trust that something interesting is on the other side.

And he’s not just like this in the kitchen. His whole career is based on doing things with variation. He’s a custom builder and has never built the same house twice. His homes are as exquisite as his food. 

His clients have a lot of money AND a lot of emotion invested in him. This carries substantial risk, and is out of everyone’s comfort zone. But that tension sets the table for magical outcomes. It requires listening, planning, and learning, and Greig does this very well. 

So … 

I’m committing to taking more risks and operating outside of my comfort zone, and I invite you to come with me on this journey of personal growth in whatever way that works. Sometimes, breakthroughs just happen, but sometimes, we cause them. This organizational fundamental about personal growth asks us to live this as a discipline and to believe in magic

Abracadabra y’all!

What have you learned by causing magic?

What’s a fun cooking story you have when you took risks? How did it turn out?

We’d love to hear about any breakthrough you’ve caused by living outside your comfort zone. 

Let us know!


Fundamental 17: BE DEDICATED TO PERSONAL GROWTH  Be a lifetime learner.  Challenge yourself to take risks and operate outside of your comfort zone.  Solicit feedback and learn from mistakes. Understand the nature of causing breakthroughs and live it as a discipline.  Believe in Magic.

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