Interesting set of twitter posts this morning. It seems that there are a lot of people that are sick to death of hearing celebrity chefs telling them how to do something, as if they were stupid, while totally insensitive to the fact that most of their audience is too busy, exhausted, or laden with other priorities to take the advice of the celebrity chef. It makes people angry. What they want is a way to find the time to pursue all of these additional, life-enriching projects. Sleeping and earning a living seem to always cut into that time, though.
There’s no shortage of advice. Everybody dispenses it. There is advice on this blog. Taking the advice is much harder, though and the glib assertions of “just follow these simple steps and all will be magically transformed” can’t possibly be true. Taking your own advice is even harder. Let’s face it. For every magical piece of simple advice telling you how to get things done, how to succeed, how to make better art, how to juggle your life’s priorities differently, etc, there is somebody struggling to put the advice into practice, who is discovering all of the unstated pitfalls and getting frustrated about it.
I try to take the advice I dispense. Eat your own dog food, is the phrase (based on the idea that if you make dog food for dogs, you really ought to taste it before you sell it). Truth be told, most of the advice I give is actually the result of thinking things through for myself and exhorting myself to follow the solution. It’s a kind of self-help therapy of my own. But that doesn’t make taking the advice easy to do, either for me or for you. I can’t even say, in all honesty, that the advice works. It just seems to ease the work in progress. At least when you figure out what you are doing wrong, it’s worth stating it, if not for everybody else’s benefit, then to remind yourself what you concluded about your own life.
One thing that the advice dispensers, myself included, probably need to acknowledge more is that if things aren’t happening to plan, if the successes are not coming in thick and fast and if you aren’t getting as much done as you wish you were, it’s also probably for very good reasons. Your roof probably doesn’t leak, as a consequence and your kids might be fed. You might have spent some important time with friends and family, instead of whipping up another brilliant artistic creation. Balance is something we sort of achieve by thousands of micro-decisions about what we actually value and think important, every day.
So next time you read some advice, even mine, remember that this is probably the story of the author’s own struggle, too. And if you don’t take the advice, you’re forgiven. You’re doing your best, doing what you can, with the time, energy and resources you have available. Sometimes doing nothing is the most important thing to do.
Everybody’s life is based on a true story, you know. Very little of it is fiction. What you’re doing today and the way you are going about it is ok. Everybody can improve, but we’re all excellent anyway.