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June 28th, 2018

Recipe books are like schools.  They show you a bunch of orders, give you a bunch of hoops to jump through, but rarely does a school teach you how to live or a recipe book how to cook.


Recipes, or instructions of any kind do two things: they give off the impression that what you are doing is already known and therefore there is no way to improve upon it. Therefore no need to improv–ise what you are doing.  And two: they set up an expectation.  If only you follow these rules, you will have exhibit A: beautiful result.


Both of these are traps.   The first robs you of thoughtfulness.  Doing something for the first time, on the fly, requires thinking.  A recipe requires an automaton.  The second sets up an expectation that may result in disastrous disappointment when the oh-so-perfect rules do not produce the beautiful result.  Any number of reasons could be the culprit.  Inevitable flaws in the writing of the recipe.  Perhaps something was vague, perhaps something was assumed and not clearly spelled out.  Perhaps there’s a million things wrong with the recipe.  Maybe someone rushed it, just to get something to print and on the page. . .






The opposite of these two things can be a powerful tool while learning:  Ignorance and lack of expectation. 


The second – expectation, or lack thereof- ensures that you will not be disappointed.  You are starting with a clean slate, and just about anything is better than a blank slate. 


The first allows you the chance to make quantum leaps in learning.  You are not stuck to an ordered list that only allows you to fit inside one step at a time.  Unfettered thinking bounces around all over the place, and the learning, probing, wondering, curious brain makes connections everywhere and anywhere it needs to, as it tries to figure something out.








Is this not at the heart of what makes kids cute while they learn at quantum speeds compared to most adults?  They fumble with ignorance, without the least amount of expectation-induced hesitation.  They make loads of mistakes and fall, sure.   But then it clicks and we are amazed that they figured something out so fast.


So when it comes to anything where totally failing won't result in real harm..


Go ahead.  Throw the recipe away.  You might learn something.




It’ll be cute.

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