I know, I know - a food blog that promotes seeking out the brighter side of life with a title like that…it is my new tactic for achieving success in all areas. My whole year I’ve been lamenting why I haven’t truly cracked the code on a few things: finding love, being published, turning the blog into a cooking show, building up my client list, building up my mailing list, and on and on. Okay, so more than a few things.
When I first moved to the City as a musical theatre actress, I went on a zillion auditions a day, and when I got a Yes, it was like winning the artistic lottery. I recorded everything down in an audition journal - what I wore, what I sang, who the casting director was, who was actually in the room, who the accompanist was, and what feedback I received. If I got a callback, I put a star next to the audition entry. If I booked the job, I put a star and I highlighted it with a bright yellow marker. At the end of the year, I had a detailed record of my failures and successes. I had information from which I could learn and improve upon as I entered into the next year working towards more stars and highlights.
Luckily, I had a really great support system that encouraged and believed in me. Whenever I received a No, I’d talk to my Dad and he, always the coach, would say, “You’re one more NO closer to a YES. Keep putting yourself out there. Athletes take the swings, shoot the baskets, go after the shots - they miss a hell of a lot of them, but continually making effort will eventually lead to hits, points, and goals.” Wayne Gretzky cornered the one liner market on this subject, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
I’ve been studying a few writers whom I admire and came across the concept of aiming for 100 rejections a year. I became fascinated by the notion that I could work towards failure to actually achieve my goals. Failure is universally recognized as something negative: failure means you didn’t win, or didn’t try, or that you’re a loser. Right? Wrong. Failure means you DID try and that you are creating opportunities to win. I’m all for trying, I’ve just never determined a number to know how many times I’m willing to try. I never knew that I can celebrate the tally of rejections as I go along. Do you know who did put a number on their failures to measure their success? Stephen King, JK Rowling, Oprah, Abe Lincoln. And this guy...
I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. ~ Michael Jordan
Putting yourself out there can be vulnerable. You might be judged. You could be pitied. Your ego can be bruised, your heart can get broken, your spirit can be crushed. Vulnerability is risky business. Sometimes we proceed with so much caution, we don’t even proceed. We stay safe. We don’t submit our painting to the art show, we don’t enter the songwriting contest, we don’t try to get legislation passed, we don’t pitch ourselves to agents/publicists, we don’t go on dates or even go out to try to meet people, we don’t write the screenplay or try out for the team. We don’t ask for the raise or promotion. We don’t go on the interview or take the meeting. All these DON'Ts are because of the fear of hearing NO. Stop for a second and imagine the YES. See it written on paper, hear it coming across on the telephone. What does it feel like to receive the YES? Conjure up that feeling every time before you try. Coming from this hopeful place will disempower the NO.
I read this on Literary Hub: “Collect rejections. Set rejection goals. Shoot for one hundred rejections in a year, because if you work that hard to get so many rejections, you’re sure to get a few acceptances, too.” That is how I got the crazy idea to shoot for 100. 100 dates, 100 submissions, 100 emails/phone calls…apply for the grant, the fellowship, the scholarship 100 times until you’re chosen. The only way we will ever hear YES is to be okay with NO. And each NO comes with valuable information; what didn’t work, what did work, what we can change. All these rejections are really just practice, perfecting techniques, and setting ourselves up for ultimate success. So let’s get out there and fail!
Here’s a sweet little success story about the Adirondack Blue potatoes I used to make these potato pancakes. (Risks are being taken in the agricultural world too.) Tucker Farms began growing an advanced selection of the Cornell potato breeding program called S45-5 in the spring of 2002. Some time after S45-5's official release in 2003, Tom and Steve Tucker suggested to Dr. De Jong that numbered varieties have no cachet in the marketplace and they wanted to call the new variety 'Adirondack Blue'. Dr. De Jong liked it and that is how S45-5 became Adirondack Blue. In Sept. '06, Penn State and Utz Quality Foods selected Adirondack Blue for a special production run of Nittany Lion blue and white potato chips for tailgating fans. Pretty cool, right?
- 8 potatoes, grated with a large hole grater
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Vegetable oil
Mix all of the ingredients except the vegetable oil in a bowl. Pour enough oil into a heated skillet to coat the bottom generously. Scoop up a handful of the potato mixture and squeeze out as much moisture as possible as you form a patty. Place the patty in the oil to fry. Continue making patties to fill the skillet. Fry for 3-5 minutes, flip the patties and cook for another 2 minutes until golden. Drain on paper towels. Serve with apple sauce and sour cream.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 cup water, divided
- Melt butter in a skillet.
- Add diced apples. Season with the salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Stir in the lemon juice.
- Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes until the apples start to stick to the pan and brown.
- Add 1/2 cup water to deglaze the pan and scrape up all the browned apple bits, forming a pan sauce. Adding 1/2 cup more water, cook for 10 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Pureé in a blender, a handheld stick blender, or mash with a fork.