Thursday, September 24, 2009

You should like what you do

I was sitting down for dinner last night, after having grilled some chicken kabobs.  I mentioned that I thought I had cooked them long enough but they seemed undercooked.

My 9-year old daughter, Ariel, after a pause, said "You should like what you do."  I looked at her, confused.  "You're always saying something bad about what you do.  I get tired of it.  And it makes me not want to eat what you make."

She really stopped me in my tracks.  She was right!  And I told her so, "you're absolutely right, Ariel."   The words "never apologize!" from Julia Child's book "My Life in France" came back to me.  She tells a story of making a horrific dish, but she and her guests just shouldered through the dish as best as they could, and Julia never apologized and the guests never complained. 

I was so touched by Ariel's sentiment: "you should like what you do."  It was an admonishment, yes, but more than that, an encouragement - I believe in you, and you should too.

I spent some time looking at myself, and saw that indeed, yes, I have an underlying idea of myself as "not good enough."  We could go back into my history to understand how this happened, but I'd rather work with the present moment.  How can I work with this now?

"You should like what you do."  I see this in two ways.  First of all, whatever I do, take pride in it.  Yes, it may not be "perfect" but all the same take pride in it.  It is a creation from the heart.  Secondly, I should like what I do, rather than wish I were doing something else.  This is the key to a happy life.  "It is not doing the thing we like to do, but liking the thing we have to do, that makes life blessed," said Goethe.

So, I'm not rash enough to believe I can change my underlying perception of myself in a flash, but it's something to practice and be aware of.  When I find myself being overly critical or unhappy with something I'm going or have done, I can remember, "you should like what you do" and be happy about it.  Always room for improvement, but it's great the way it is.  My cooking is great.  My code is great.  My pictures are great.  My words are great.  My nose is great.  I am great.


Sandy said...

What a great post. I tend toward self-deprecation, too, and never really considered a reaction like Ariel's. Refreshing stuff!

Andy Cohen said...

Great post, David. It's the sort of thing I want to share with my own children.

Neil's Dev Stuff said...

David, I love all your posts, your thinking out loud, the dilemma's and wisdom. Your post reminded me of a girl I used to date when I was in my teens, she said "happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have", I have never forgot that and its getting on for 35 years since I saw her last. Its amazing how certain people can influence you long term. Don't give up your blog anytime soon.

vanc said...

you ARE great! and your kids are great too - lovely little mirrors. Thanks Ariel for telling my wonderful brother/your wonderful father in a way he really heard.