I often forget this little bit of wisdom in “Ratatouille”. Gusteau’s famous saying, ‘Everyone can cook’ is easy to remember. However this gem that follows it is not so easy to remember. ‘Only the fearless can be great’, what an amazing caveat. It’s an acknowledgement that it takes more than simple talent to succeed. It also takes courage.
I have known two fearless cooks in my life. One was my grandmother. She would bravely and unashamedly throw anything into a recipe. Out of cocoa powder? Substitute a Snickers bar! Out of corn? Use a jar of pimentos! Not enough of any one kind of leftover to make a full meal? Mix them all together and see what happens! My grandmother was a terrible cook. As an adult I have discovered several foods that I did not think I liked only to find the reality was I only did not like them when she cooked them. The other fearless cook I knew was a friend of my parents. Unlike my grandmother she had an instinctual understanding of what made food work. Recipes were a starting place, a guide rather than a law. She made the most delicious things. I loved going to her house for dinner. Both were fearless, but with very different results.
Courage does not equal success, but real success is rarely found without courage. To achieve greatness in whatever we attempt, we must be brave enough to fail. We don’t like to fail. Failure means we’ve done something wrong. Failure means we are less. But if we are brave enough to take failure in our stride, it is a learning tool. Thomas Edison is quoted as saying of his research on the incandescent bulb, ‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that did not work.’ Not to mention the failures that became successes in their own right. Post-its came from a failed adhesive. Microwave ovens were a failed attempt to improve radar. Viagra was supposed to be a heart medication. They all failed spectacularly, but found their own success.
Do not be afraid to fail. Find your greatness, not in spite of your failure but because of it. Be bold. Be fearless. Be great.
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