Let’s give a hypothetical.

You love cooking. When you get to college there are five different cooking clubs, all requiring a try out. You love to cook and bake in all its forms, though you have a slight preference to French cooking. You think you’re a really good cook, and you’ve even won a few cooking contests, and were asked to bake things in High School. You can’t imagine you will have any problem getting into the French cooking club at college.

So you try out for the French cooking club, and you don’t even make it to the second round.

You cry and throw a fit and are inconsolable.

You are upset and can’t believe that you didn’t make the club.

You decide that you are definitely going to try out for the club again.

But you don’t try out for any of the other four cooking clubs. You become obsessed with making the French cooking club.

You try in the spring: you don’t get in. You try the following fall. Don’t get in. Spring: denied.

You still say you love cooking, but somehow you have not tried out for any of the other four clubs. Truth be told, you haven’t really practiced that much either, which is fine, because you only cook for fun.

As the next fall rolls around, you decide not to try out for the French cooking club, or any cooking club. You say all the people in the French cooking club are bitchy and mean and jealous. They don’t like you because you are good but different than them.

You stop cooking.

So here are my questions:

Do we become so focused on one particular outcome that we forget about everything else?

Do we have trouble accepting when things don’t go exactly our way?

Do we make excuses about outcomes because we don’t like to face the reality that we are just not good enough?

Ally mentioned yesterday that before she gives up on something, she thinks about why she wants to, and how her life will change because of it. If you don’t like cooking anymore, if it no longer brings you joy, by all means give it up. Leisure activity should bring you some sort of peace or excitement or a good feeling- it shouldn’t be something that you dread.

But, are you actually going to miss cooking? Do you miss cooking? If so, ask yourself why you can’t try out for one of the other clubs. Are you afraid you aren’t going to make it? Are you afraid to find out that in your small high school you were the king of the world, but in the actual world you’re just another pawn? Are you giving up because you’re “Not good enough”? Is it easier to blame others for your failures? Do you not want to take personal responsibility?

In this scenario- why are you giving up?






52 thoughts on “I Tried and Then I Didn’t

  1. Very interesting thought prompt for today. I will dare to say that by not trying the other cooking clubs shows a level of inflexibility, perhaps even immaturity (I will just take my toys and go home). It’s an unwillingness to explore a Plan B. OR the rejection is a wake up call that you are done with this hobby/thing.
    For example, both my kids played lacrosse in high school. Both were very good (my son was All County) and could have played college club lacrosse. They both decided not to play. My son went on to explore various types of marital arts and my daughter did the “play hard, work hard” of a big college.
    At first, I was taken aback. I mean we spent an infinite amount of hours in this sport. I was in leadership roles at all levels of the sport. We were a lacrosse family and suddenly we weren’t.
    Then I realized that the sport provided what they needed at that time and now it was time for them to explore other activities. And I am fine with that.
    So for your cooking question, I think the answer lies inside each individual. Great question!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s a big difference between coming to a decision that something is not worth the time, expense or energy, and not wanting to do something because you’re no longer the best. One is mature, rational and logical. The other is the exact opposite

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi LA:
    Very interesting questions. I love to cook, but have never entered any competitions As a Christian, I never feel like a “pawn” anywhere. We are beloved children of our heavenly Father, and this knowledge gives us high self-esteem. 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know if giving up is the phrasing I would use. I would say that I was focusing my talents and spare time where it brings joy not anxiety. My kids grew up in a small town and did not play soccer which everyone else seemed to. During a meeting with the parents of incoming freshmen the athletic director flat out told all the parents that not all the kids who play soccer on town teams would make the high school squad. Reality check. When kids get to college they find out they are just one of many no matter how big a school they came from, the personalities, the cliques and the varying degrees of talent are magnified. Reality check. What do I want to do, try to get into that exclusive club just to say I can or spend time doing something I enjoy and maybe learning something new and making friends with different likes and dislikes.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This brings to mind the A-types with their full resumes. I think it’s great, on the one hand, that people can be like this, and keep track, and are able to present huge lists of accomplishments and awards and related stuff and make themselves be as competitively attractive as possible.

    On the other side of the coin: does this prepare you, psychologically speaking, to expect a desired outcome, if not at first try, at second try? And then a subsequent scenario as you outline (i.e. you stop cooking and make off-hand remarks about not wanting to be part of that club anyway bla bla blah…)

    I don’t know what the answer is.

    Maybe some hobbies need to be maintained for the sake of fun. Never mind classes, never mind recognition. Just do it because you like it.

    As far as giving up is concerned, I almost get the sense that ‘giving up’ has negative implications. What if instead of saying ‘give up’ you say ‘recognize limitations’ or ‘I changed my mind’ (because you’re allowed to change your mind)…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Because I’m me, I’m trying to come up with when it’s ok to give up, why we give up, and how can we make giving up a good thing, because sometimes we need to give up, and other times we shouldn’t or we didn’t try enough….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And by ‘comfortable with giving up’ I mean I know my limits and I’m ok with not pursuing something. Or perhaps I’m lazy? I’m not type A…nor do I want to be.

        So you gonna cook me a French meal when I come to NYC? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. In this scenario, given my age and past experiences at being “on top” I would be giving up because of an immature sense of what makes me a valuable person, of the lack of insight into what I can give to others rather than what I expect others to give to me.
    I seem to be someone who has consistently gotten what I wanted and someone who has been taught to be relentless in their goals if those goals make me appear to be special in some way. When I finally come to the realization that I am no more special or privileged than the student sitting next to me in class then my reasoning jumps directly to put the ownership of the problem onto everyone else. I am spoiled and a whiner and I have no concept of what it means to not get what I want because I have consistently, although perhaps not deservedly, been rewarded in the past.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. There was once a conversation in my family that has stuck with me for a really long time because the concept is pretty spot on. Someone said “I really want to learn to play the piano.” Said person was early middle age at the time. Another person stated “No you don’t. If you really did and it was really important to you, then you’d be doing it.” There were then extended conversations about all the reasons like time and access and whatever else was put out there for why it hadn’t happened. Again, the argument was that those were all just excuses and that if it were important enough to that person, they would have found some way to make it happen. While I do agree that most times things aren’t quite that simple, in a lot of ways, that is the underlying basis for not actually doing those things you want to do. On some level you don’t actually want to do them or they really aren’t an important priority even if you think otherwise.

    In your scenario, this absolutely applies. If the person genuinely wanted to cook and be a part of a club to do it, they would have applied to the other groups. At minimum, they would have been cooking at home because it is what they want to do. If the French thing was critical, then they would have looked to groups outside of the school, and again, did it on their own. Yes, things like ego could play a part in this and that would be something a little different, but I still think the lack of desire to do so would be part of that.

    When I started running my online shop, I absolutely LOVED it. There were so many pieces to it that it challenged a lot my different creative talents to run it. I’d been doing it for a couple of years when I realized that I wasn’t loving it anymore. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out they whys behind it and discovered that I wanted to do fully custom pieces and not stock pieces, but there wasn’t nearly the call for custom work. When I had to do nothing but stock to keep things running, everything else became an overwhelming amount of work for very little reward. I quit doing it at that point. It was a hard decision, but it was the right one for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m also a believer in “if you want to do something you would be doing it.” Totally my credo. But….I kind of lean towards what Deb intimated. If someone thinks they’re the best at something, and then they realize they’re not, does this take the fun out of it for them, and they quit. I think a lot of people place the blame on others. Which actually might be my topic for tomorrow

      Liked by 2 people

  7. There can be an activity that you enjoy for years and years and then you mature, life changes, or you actually burn out or get tired of it. That particular activity just doesn’t bring you the enjoyment it once did. Continuing to pursue it simply because you have always done it or because you’re good at it (but not necessarily enjoying it) doesn’t seem like the right choice. In that particular situation, stopping the activity isn’t so much “quitting” or “giving up” but rather acknowledging that the reasons you initially pursued it no longer exist.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” was rejected over 100 (not a typo, that’s a hundred!) times. Quite a few more than the lady in your story. Imagine if Pirsig called it quits after the first couple of times.

    But these are very profound questions, and very context dependent. If someone truly loves cooking, why not continue to enjoy it as long as they’re not hurting anyone? If someone tries to fly and keeps on breaking their bones jumping off buildings, perhaps it’s an indication that they should pursue their goal by learning to pilot a plane instead?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Indeed, but that’s what makes the questions you brought up so intriguing. Sometimes quitting is necessary to survive, but sometimes persistence is necessary for success. With 100+ rejections, you could say blind persistence? 🙂

        “By the time I was fourteen the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing.” And this comes from someone who ended up as wildly successful as Stephen King…

        What I’m still pondering is what’s the right time to change directions and what’s the right time to persist? Thank you for bringing up such a great questions!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I don’t know, sometimes persistence pays off. I tried out for one newspaper five times before I finally got the job. But then there are other things that I just don’t think are worth the trouble. I get it all depends on how much you want something.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And it depends on why you’re quitting. That’s the two halves….how much do you want it, and why are you quitting. That’s what I was trying to eke out today. Maybe the hypothetical in my story just doesn’t care about cooking anymore. But maybe they were annoyed that they weren’t the best. Only the person knows why.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I think I knocked on 5-10 doors in New York to get a job in the garment district. In those day, you went door to door wearing sneakers with your heels in your brief case. I got a job at Saks in the clerical dept working with the buyers and then with Burlington Coat Factory a step above. The only problem was it didn’t pay much for a single gal on her own in Manhattan. But I sure had fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was using cooking as an example of something a kid might do in high school and be the best at, but not necessarily be the best when in the real world. And…have you seen how many cooking competition shows there are on tv? Master chef, top chef, best baker, etc…..

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s my point. Your kids have to realize that they’re probably not the best at something, and that being the best isn’t the reason you do things. It’s the journey

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I totally agree with your point. I’ll be honest when I read this post I didn’t get that message. I think it may have been due to the fact you used cooking as your example and in my mind cooking is a creative endeavor and also a necessity (we don’t eat out very often) unlike other pursuits that are more competitive in nature. Thanks for the clarification.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Really great post! I think it’s really easy to fall into a mindset where if things don’t go exactly the way you want, then you give up on your dreams. I think it’s easy to fixate on trying to get into the “french cooking club” and never try for something else. Personally, I learnt a long time ago that things often don’t work out exactly as planned, but that’s okay, cos there are always other options.

    Liked by 1 person

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