I watch a lot of competitive cooking shows. A lot. So much so that if I were to meet Alton Brown I’m sure he would know who I am. You hear me, Alton? I’m certain we’re already friends. I watch so much Food Network that my cooking has improved to an extent that I would fare pretty well on Chopped– just from watching Chopped–and I could open a wildly successful restaurant because of Robert Irvine and Restaurant Impossible.
Through my extensive cooking-show study one theme seems to transcend every series–from Worst Cooks in America to Iron Chef America (So much America)–every contestant invariably has the same chip on their shoulder.
They all need to “prove” themselves.
A common interview with the contestant goes something like this, “I used to be a high-powered so-and-so—or a good for nothing this-and-that—and then I left it all behind to get into the culinary arts. Now I’m here to prove to my [self, parents, children, spouse, America (like we care), probation officer] that I’ve made the right decision.”
My question to them is: How will winning Cutthroat Kitchen prove that you’ve made the right career choice? And why do you need that validation?
It’s a two part question. I’m allowed.
Three years ago I quit my job to be a writer. I gave up a lucrative career, 10 years’ experience in the field, and at least a modicum of respect; and for what?
Nothing has happened with my book yet. Nothing really is happening with my blog (thank you so much for reading!!) I have written some cool short stories but I haven’t even submitted them to any contests. And really, would anyone know or care that I’m a writer if I wasn’t always talking about how much I love to write and just-you-wait-for-my-spectacular-mermaid-book? Probably not. Like I said,
Yet I have never once thought I needed any of these things to “prove” I made the right decision. I already know it.
Every day that I wake up, free of the stress that came from worrying about the troubled youth of America, I know I’ve made the right decision. Having the luxury of 3 hours a day set aside for the sole purpose of writing, proves everything I need to prove. And most importantly, I love writing and now I get to do it all the time; I already count myself a winner!
Sometimes I just want to slap the contestants who carry on and on about how glad they are to be cooking for a living and then say, “Winning this would prove to myself that I’ve made the right decision.”
Son, you’ve already proved it by doing something you love! What more do you need?
Your happiness proves everything.
My happiness proves everything.
Let’s all stop trying to prove ourselves and start enjoying ourselves.
*Just so we’re clear, I still worry about the troubled youth of America and I always will. I’m just so relieved that they aren’t my direct responsibility anymore.