Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Flashback to June 2011: Life Lessons from the Food Network Channel

Tamar's lunch, Rustavi, Georgia. August 2011.

On June 13, 2011, I wrote the post below.

It still holds true.

Lunch in Tbilisi, Georgia. April 2012.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Life Lessons from the Food Network Channel

I don't like to cook, and I'm not a foodie.

But I love to watch the Food Network Channel's Chopped and The Next Food Network Star.

The food in these shows are simply the medium used to deliver artistry, beauty, adventure, suspense, and human drama to the viewers. It is ridiculous how much stressful suspense I feel while watching sweating contestants struggle to "plate" their food before the final-seconds countdown ends. Sometimes I have to cover my eyes or even flip the channel for those last seconds, it feels so intense.

But what I find most intriguing are the life lessons I see in these shows:  
  1. Radiate confidence in yourself and your abilities. Confidence is, in fact, part of your "product."  
  2. You will make a mistake. When you do, own it, fix it if possible, and move on. Beating yourself up avails nothing but pain for yourself and those around you.
  3. Your plan will go awry. When it does, take a breath, then move to a different plan. 
  4. Remain calm.
  5. There will be criticism. Accept it with grace. Acceptance does not necessarily equal agreement. 
  6. Be professional: You don't need to push others down to raise yourself up.
When I was doing my CELTA course a few months ago in Playa del Carmen, there were a couple of particularly challenging days.

In one, I'd felt really good about a class I did, and felt dashed when the tutor told me I'd left out a very important piece of the assignment, which affected her assessment of my overall performance for that lesson. I allowed this to rattle my confidence in a big way.

The very next class I did, I experienced a technical glitch that rattled me in a way that was disproportionate to the problem. Once that got fixed (with the help of a colleague), I saw to my dismay I'd made an error on one of my handouts, which compounded my sense of dismal failure. At the time, it was just a horrible, sick experience, again, out of proportion to the grand scheme of things.

During the afternoon critique session, I gleaned two things: 
  1. If I make a mistake, don't dwell on it in front of the class - just fix it and move along or, if there actually isn't any substantive impact on the day's lesson, don't even mention it (as doing so adds nothing of value to the students).
  2. Lack of self-confidence is a real performance killer. (And to the "audience," it is immaterial if the projected self-confidence is real or acted.)

So come Sunday evening, I'll be settling in to watch another installment of The Next Food Network Star. 

Tia serves khinkali. Rustavi, Georgia. August 2011.


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