• On Pushing Yourself, and Not Saying No

    I recently saw an interesting video by Michael Ruhlman, a chef who works in the United States. Here’s what he had to say:

    Had Something to Say – Thomas Keller from michael ruhlman on Vimeo.

    Ruhlman is talking about a chef friend of his who talked about what it takes to make a great restaurant — how he just pushed himself and pushed himself for more, for better, for greatness. When you have a bunch of VIPs (Very Important Persons) coming to the restaurant, and you have to make a bunch of wonderful food, and you’re already behind, and working like crazy, and then the chef (your boss) says, “Do you have time to make this new dish?” A new dish–something you’ve maybe never made before. And the friend told Ruhlman, “You don’t even think of saying no.” Ruhlman ends the video by saying, about not saying “no,” that he feels if more people just didn’t say no, the world would be a better place.

    And he’s right.

    Too many students say “no” to being outstanding successes, by saying “no” to the work it takes to succeed.

    They do work just well enough to pass, or to get a B or a C. They read just enough to be able to comment, but don’t struggle to truly understand a text and its context. They may come to class, but don’t push themselves to contribute regularly. They say no to the crazy, wonderful experience of really getting into whatever they’re studying, so that everything else is pushed aside for a while.

    You can be an outstanding success, in this class and every other. It begins with not saying no, or, better, with saying yes to learning, yes to mastering something, yes to being a success. If you work to achieve that, then you’ll be surprised how your grades look, but if you work to achieve that, you’ll be surprised how you forgot to worry about grades along the way, too.

    Just a thought, as we begin this new semester.

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