Recently I had the occasion to stroll through the underbrush of that most lavish and plenteous of milieu, the bookstore.
Profusive as always with tomes and monographs on every subject imaginable – and a few of which you’ve likely never even conceived – I found myself drifting into a small but densely-packed thicket helpfully labelled, “Food Writing.”
This cornucopia of culinary communication featured such bright sparks as Anthony Bourdain, Ruth Reichl, Michael Pollan and M.F.K. Fisher.
As my eyes drifted across the spines of this moveable feast, I suddenly had an epiphany – a monkey-touch-the-monolith moment of inspiration, determination and exultation that very nearly left me in tears.
I should explain.
I’m currently hard at work writing my second book, A Fork in the Road: Love Letters to the World of Food. Not a cookbook but a collection of treatises on every aspect of food, from the ingredients we use, the way we cook and eat, and even the people with which we share our glorious bounty. It’s truly a labour of love.
What got me so worked up with emotion in the middle of the bookstore was a simple realization, and a decision:
My book, my very own humble collection of words, sentences and paragraphs, will share space with Anthony Bourdain, Ruth Reichl, Alton Brown and and my other culinary heroes.
That decision opened up a wellspring of confidence and a little good old-fashioned chutzpah. A year ago I would have thought you mad if you had suggested that I’d even consider doing this, much less achieve it.
But I will. In fact, I already have, at least, in my own mind.
The word “decision” comes from – and I hardly need to point this out to humans as perspicacious as yourselves – the Latin word “dēcīdere” meaning “to cut off.”
When you make a decision, you are literally cutting off any other option.
But whoa there buckaroos! You need to understand where the decision is coming from.
Mind vs. Heart
Decisions can come from two distinct places: the mind and the heart.
Decisions made in the mind are based on facts and figures. They’re buttressed by proof and can be very powerful. However, they lack passion, and can even be circumvented if new “evidence” is brought into play.
Those made in the heart however are born out of passion. They eschew facts in favour of emotional certainty – faith. While these kinds of decisions are harder to explain in a quantitative way, they can be immensely powerful.
Now dudes and dudettes I’m not suggesting that one is better than the other. In fact, the ideal situation involves making a decision that satisfies both your mind AND your heart. When you do that… nothing can stop you.
My decision was made primarily in my heart, but I’m happy to say I’ve also now gotten my mind on side as well. This decision has essentially cut off any other option but the one I seek – to have my book appear in the “Food Writing” section of bookstores, Amazon, etc.
In a way, I’ve already achieved my goal. All that remains is to create that reality.
Athletes often use similar visualization techniques, seeing success as a foregone conclusion, and the path to that success simply a matter of the application of effort.
I know in my heart that there’s a space on that bookshelf just waiting for the arrival of A Fork in the Road. That is my reality. Now I simply have to connect the dots to make it happen.
There’s something in your life that you want to achieve, and it’s yours if you DECIDE in your heart that it is.
Once you make the decision… the rest is just the application of effort.