Among my many interests, I’m a dilettante home chef. You read that right: I’m a dilettante at being a home chef.
You see, I like cooking, but, if I were to be honest, I fail more often than I succeed. So, I’m a frustrated home chef.
To prove my point: Osso “Buko” is the first recipe in Tim Ferriss’ bestseller The 4-Hour Chef. Osso “Buko” is just a fancy name for Braised Lamb Shanks and Carrots. Of that recipe Tim wrote,
Even if you’ve screwed up scrambled eggs in the past, you can get to haute cuisine in a day and acquire an amazing standby dish that will never fail you. This is that dish.
The first time I made Osso “Buko”, it was sensational. Nevertheless, I have screwed it up three times since and have now given up on that recipe.
However, my favourite recipe is Squash and Spinach Pasta Rotolo by Jamie Oliver. It’s a brilliant dish, much more complicated than the previously mentioned dish, and I’ve yet to screw it up. There’s still time…
Because of my interest in cooking, I like watching cooking shows. And my family now enjoys watching Masterchef Australia with me.
My family will often remark that I should apply to be on Masterchef. The fact is, though, that I would not be a good contestant for Masterchef. I may know more about cooking than my family, but I don’t know nearly enough to ever be a contestant on such a show. An armchair-chef I remain, therefore.
The latest season has proved to be quite good, in many respects. Much better than previous seasons —the producers are obviously learning from previous mistakes.
Anyway, Marco appeared on Masterchef twice this season, for a whole week each time. His opening monologue was, surprisingly, quite inspiring. Here is something that he said:
Dreams are, without question, the most important thing. Because without them, you’ll never achieve anything. [I encourage my daughter, and those wishing to start a career in cooking, by telling her:] If you have a dream, then you have a duty and a responsibility to yourself to make it come true. Because if you don’t make your dreams come true, then you’re just a dreamer.
(Marco Pierre White)
Here is a short clip of Marco delivering this line:
These words of Marco ring true because, for the most part, they are true. If we don’t dream, we will have nothing to aspire to and will, therefore, achieve very little worth mentioning. However, if we were to be honest with ourselves, Marco’s words also have the ring of Disneyfication to them.
Disney is notorious for promoting the worldview that, if you just dream hard enough, your dreams will come true. The problem is that the world is not a fair nor a just place. Not everyone is born with the capacity nor the resources nor the opportunity to even begin to work towards the dreams they can conceive for themselves. For the vast majority of the world, the American dream —nor Australian nor that of other Western countries, by and large— will never be realised. And no amount of effort in dreaming will change that reality.
Lest you think I’m being a sourpuss toward dreamers, let me put your mind at ease.
Excepting this Disneyfication caveat, I agree wholeheartedly with Marco. If you can dream a better reality for yourself than you are currently experiencing, then you most certainly owe it to yourself to do whatever you can to realise that dream for yourself. Otherwise, you remain merely a dreamer and, really, of no use to anyone, especially yourself.
He was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher … or, as his wife would have it, an idiot.
However, it also remains true that regardless of what you can imagine for yourself, you may not have the capacity nor the resources nor the opportunity to realise your dream. Harriet Tubman was only partly correct when she wrote,
Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
If you have a dream, apply your strength, patience and passion towards realising that dream. Rise above your circumstances. Remember, though, not all dreams are achievable, nor are all dreams worth achieving.
The key, in my humble opinion, is to make an honest appraisal of yourself and your circumstances, and do whatever you can, whatever is in your power to do.
While I claim this as a humble opinion, the fact is, I find myself in good company:
For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one.
(Romans 12:3, HCSB)
For all of the apostle Paul’s strengths and abilities, he recognised that not all he accomplished was a result of his strengths and abilities. God called him to a purpose (Ac 26:9-18). Therefore, to become ‘puffed up’ by his accomplishments would be to ignore the truth that his accomplishments arose out of “the grace given to me” and the “measure of faith [distributed by God] to each one”. To recognise this is to “think sensibly” about one’s accomplishments and station in life.
Maybe you have dreams and the resources to accomplish them. Then, what are you waiting for? Go out and do what you can to accomplish your dreams. You owe it to yourself.
However, keep in mind that your circumstances are not exclusively your doing. You have been born into a family and a community and a country that provides you food, shelter, security, education, etc. People have invested time into you, both directly and indirectly. To accomplish your dreams serves yourself primarily, but, secondarily, achieving your dreams also honours those who have supported you throughout your lifetime, even God.
Consider the example of Kurt Warner who, while at the University of Northern Iowa, was a second-string player on the gridiron football team. During his studies he met a single mum who had two kids, one of whom was blind. Warner married the woman anyway and adopted both of her children.
Kurt wasn’t drafted by the NFL after graduating, so he went to work in a grocery store, stocking groceries. But he kept his dream alive by playing in the Arena Football League and eventually for the Amsterdam Admirals in the European NFL. In 1998, he was signed by the St. Louis Rams but barely played. In 1999, his opportunities didn’t look much better. The Rams had signed quarterback Trent Green to a multimillion-dollar contract. Kurt got the league minimum for a second-year player, $250,000.
In a pre-season game, Green got hurt, which allowed Warner to prove himself as a starting quarterback. And he did, big time! Kurt Warner was named the NFL’s most valuable player for 1999 and the MVP of the Super Bowl that year.
To this day, Warner keeps his success in perspective. During the Billy Graham crusade on 15 October 1999, at the TWA Dome in St. Louis, where the Rams play their home games, Warner announced to more than 40,000 cheering fans,
People often ask the secret to my success as a football player. It has nothing to do with how I work out in the off-season or my diet. The secret to my success is Jesus Christ.
Warner acknowledges that his faith, as well as the hardships and tragedies his family has faced, has helped him understand what truly is important in life. In turn, this helps him on the football field, particularly in pressure situations —my thanks to Greg Asimakoupoulos (of Mercer Island, Washington) and 1001 Illustrations That Connect (C. Larson and P. Ten Elshof, Zondervan Publishing House) for this story.
Be ambitious and pursue your dreams. Use whatever time, talents and resources you have at your disposal. You owe it to yourself. To merely dream is to remain merely a dreamer.
If you are successful in rising above your circumstances, remember to keep your success in its proper perspective. Don’t let your achievements ‘go to your head’, becoming arrogant in the process. You are not the only one backing you!
To paraphrase the wisdom of Jesus: Honour God; honour others; then, honour yourself.
What’s your favourite dish to cook? Share your success and/or horror story.
What dreams keep you awake at night, motivating you to action? Are you acting on your dreams?
Who has supported you in your dreams, either directly or indirectly? Take the time to thank them.