It’s About the Customer, Stupid
I recently did some reading. Sometimes it can be a dangerous thing to do. I’ll quote, “Our brain has 100 billion neurons that connect to one another in 40 quadrillion ways. … Things that we think about can get ingrained. …We are not victims of the neural networks that we’ve inherited. A pessimist can train himself to be more optimistic.”
I wonder if working 70+ hours a week in a hot, usually very small room with few or no windows, where it’s noisy and there are dead animal parts all over the place …perhaps those 100 billion neuron options might get limited to three or four that remain functional.
It’s a tough industry and it can take its toll. It can be damn difficult to stay optimistic over long periods of time when things keep going south. Let’s take a situation: we run a new menu item, promote it and hope that it will draw new customers. … It doesn’t work, it loudly whiffs, almost nobody orders it and those who do aren’t impressed.
We feel lousy about it. We get discouraged and think, “What’s the use, nothing is going to work.” (Have you ever heard of self-fulfilling prophecies?) With all those billions of neurons focused on animal and vegetable parts for large chunks of your life, where else are the neurons going to lead you?
Same situation: another chef/manager at another restaurant is doing the same stuff: trying a new idea and getting stiffed. But she (we’ll say it’s a woman, seems more credible for this situation) is thinking, “okay, back to the drawing board, maybe I’ll test it on some staff before running the next one.”
Two different chefs tried something different and they both failed. Which one do you think will be doing better next week? Next year?
What happens is: the neurons get by-passed and the gut or the heart, or maybe the groin originates “feelings” which can nix out the neurons (extreme over-simplification of what really happens). In the first example, the chef knows that he should take it back to the drawing board and try again. Instead, he might slam a few pots around, throw some Jell-O at a waitress and do something stupid to prove that he isn’t stupid.
The second chef had to feel crappy about failing, but didn’t let her feelings sabotage her brain. She decided that she could think her way through it.
You’ve got 100 billion neurons that are ready to work for you. Put them to work. Try something new, take a different route to work, do a routine chore differently, stir the pot with your other hand in the other direction …these little things will get those sleepy neurons awake.
Ultimately, it’s not about us or our egos or our reputations or God forbid, about our feelings. I’ll paraphrase James Carville, a Clinton political advisor, “It’s about the customer, stupid.”
You know this stuff. Yeah, you forget sometimes. Now smile, get back in the kitchen and stir up (with your other hand) some more frigg’n peas.
Every sweet has its sour; every evil its good. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
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