I just read a news story about a 14 year old named Flynn McGarry who thinks, and speaks, exactly like I did at that age. My biography is almost exactly the same as his, just applied to a different discipline. He’s now worked in some of the best kitchens in the world and … just stop and go read the source news article . It’s that good.
My favorite parts:
“My mom didn’t really like cooking, and when she did cook I didn’t really like her food. And I was watching something on the Food Network, and I thought, ‘I could do this,’” he said. “And so I went to the bookstore and I looked for the thickest, biggest cookbook. And I found ‘The French Laundry’ by Thomas Keller. And things were very hard to make and took six-plus hours to cook. So I decided to try something simpler, like salmon and potatoes and it went from there.”
“Focusing on your passion and hard work definitely pays off in the end,” he said. “At the point in your life where you stop caring if you’re going to be famous or do well, your dream will come to you. I did something with my talent and people recognized.”
I love it. It follows the same pattern of my life and what I’ve seen work over and over in the lives of others:
- See Something Interesting
- Realize You Can Do It
- Obsessively Study How to Do It (Reading and Seeking Out Experts)
- Execute and Practice Constantly Until You Become Better
- If You Become Overwhelmed, Back Track To a Simpler Step And Build On That Knowledge Until You Can Proceed
- People Notice Excellence (Even Though You Are Doing It For Your Own Fulfillment)
- Find a Way to Earn Compensation for Doing What You Love, Buying Your Freedom
That’s the formula. This kid has it down perfectly!
It’s this type of philosophy and work ethic that makes me talk about the problem with extended adolescence in the United States. People are putting their lives on hold until they are 25, 30 or 35 years old, not realizing that the average person lives 27,375 days before it’s game over. If you are 30 years old, still in university, relying on you parents, you’ve already wasted nearly 11,000 of those days and have only 16,000+ left. It’s a terrible use of time capital.
You can write me as many angry letters as you want, but I’m trying to save you from wasting your life. Stop putting it on hold and making excuses. No one is going to save you. Every day that you sit in suspended existence is a day you’ve lost forever. Your life is ending a minute at a time. Make the most of it. Find something you love. Figure out how to make a living doing it. The rest tends to work out in the end.
Sometimes, I think we should go back to the Colonial days in the United States, where high school was completed by 12 or 13 and then people either applied to university or trained to learn a trade instead of giving in to what Oprah Winfrey once called “the soft bigotry of low expectations”. It’s clear that Flynn McGarry’s greatest contribution to civilization is going to be in a kitchen. His talent should be developed, encouraged, and given an opportunity to shine.
You can read Flynn McGarry’s blog here. I can tell you from experience that with the mindset he has, he’ll always be fine. That doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges but the fearlessness of learning combined with love for the topic and curiosity will open doors he never imagined possible.