You must be imaginative, strong-hearted. You must try things that may not work, and you must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul. What I say is true – anyone can cook… but only the fearless can be great.

– Chef Gusteau – Ratatouille

It’s funny, Ratatouille, the animated movie has always been one of my favorite movies of all time. It is possibly the best of the best in terms of movies I have seen and continue to watch. Well…why?

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I have always loved to cook. I have been cooking since I was little. Yes, maybe the things I was cooking didn’t turn out all that great, but over time, my ability to put things together that I thought would taste good improved significantly. Thank the heavens. But cooking has another dimension to it that I think you can only understand through experimentation, trial and error. For some, it causes stress…but for me… I get in the zone. I keep thinking about how delicious it is going to taste when it is done and the look on the persons face when they chew on what I have created for them. I get satisfaction knowing that they are happy. In fact, that is how I work in the rest of the areas of my life.

But the movie offers something much much deeper. The idea “anyone can cook” isn’t about cooking really…it is about the quote above. You have to be willing to take chances, to dig deep, to create massive scary goals…there are no limits to what your potential is. The only limit is, like said above, your soul.

And this brings me to what I have been thinking about for most of the day.

I’d like for them to say:
He took a few cups of love.
He took one tablespoon of patience,
One teaspoon of generosity,
One pint of kindness.
He took one quart of laughter,
One pinch of concern.
And then, he mixed willingness with happiness.
He added lots of faith,
And he stirred it up well.
Then he spread it over a span of a lifetime,
And he served it to each and every deserving person he met.

– Muhammad Ali

Your life, is just like cooking. Add all the ingredients  you need, give a decent measure to what you want to throw in (because too much of even a good thing can turn on you) and give it a stir! You will be surprised with what you come up with. I knew when I started this project that I needed to add some things into my life: compassion, empathy, love, passion, determination. I knew that those ingredients were going to be part of my life from the day I started it. And now everything is stirred up, in the oven, and ready to be taken out.

You never quite stop making food in your life, and why would you even dream of settling and stop working on improving upon yourself. You are wasting an opportunity to unlock gifts that you have been given since the day you arrived here. They take work sometimes to uncover, but when you do, it is an incredible feeling to arrive at the point where you know that something you have worked on for so long is now part of you. Those pieces never go away. Those pieces are concrete in your soul.

In this new year, throw some things in that you never had before…and cook away. You will be surprised at the end result.

Evan Sanders

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