When our expectations exceed our current capabilities
The question I get asked often from people who follow my cooking channel is “How do I learn” or “How do I start?”
And my answer to them is always something along the lines of:
“Start with something basic, something easy. Maybe scrambled eggs over low heat, maybe rice in a rice cooker or maybe to reheat something in a pan instead of a microwave.”
It’s not glamorous, but it is a first step towards cooking.
The reason why most people have such a huge issue with learning to cook is because they’re intimidated by the expectations they set for themselves subconsciously. In their minds, what they want to cook has to at least be on par with the food they’ve eaten, and they learn to cook, not for the sake of learning, but for the sake of impressing themselves and those around them. And because the bar is set so high, they fail and eventually give up on cooking entirely, convinced that cooking isn’t for them.
Learning to cook, or develop any kind of skill will take time. It sounds obvious, but it’s not. Most of us get frustrated and give up when we make mistakes, when the food we’ve cooked isn’t as impressive as hoped. We feel frustrated because when we fail, we feel helpless, incompetent in having failed so far away from our vision, our expectations. We feel frustrated because deep inside, most of us like to believe that we’re special, the exception to the norm, the outlier. When we fail, we fail harder because of those very expectations that we’ve set and we draw extreme conclusions about ourselves, convinced that because we didn’t succeed the first few times, we’re incapable of ever learning how to cook. We’re determined to believe that because we’ve failed, cooking isn’t for us.
And that’s the reason why so many of us fail in so many things other than just cooking. Some of us go to the gym for the first time, work out, put in our effort and come home expecting results. Some of us learn programming, spent hours trying to solve a problem but can’t. Some of us attempt to write, but spend days just thinking about what to write and how to write. In the process of learning, we fail and become frustrated, disappointed in ourselves for the seemingly lack of progress we’ve made, compared to the expectations we’ve set for ourselves.
Your expectations will always be higher than your capabilities in the early stages of developing your craft. It’s just how it is. It will take time.
It sounds obvious, but it’s not.
“Expectation is the root of all heartache.” — William Shakespeare