When I was a kid, my mom convinced me that I was a picky eater. As a result, I was a picky eater. At 17 years of age, I had an epiphany: extreme hunger drastically impacts how picky you can be (your “picky-ness” is inversely proportional to your level of hunger). That experience changed how I respond to adversity. It also expanded my capacity to experience more of what life has to offer.
Here are 5 lessons that I have learned as the result of that experience:
Pay attention to the labels
Beware the labels that people (including yourself) try to put on you as they have a profound effect on your behavior.
“I’m Italian so I have a hot temper”
“I’m Irish, we drink a lot”
“I’m (insert label) so I (insert type of behavior)”
Such labels stunt your growth and limit how fully you can partake of the rich bounty of experiences the buffet of life has to offer. Try labels like “adventurous”, “curious” or “open”.
Challenging yourself to step outside of your routine creates opportunities to find new favorites. This applies as much to your dreams/goals/aspirations as it does to food. I lived 40 years of my life without ever having tried a tuna melt. After convincing myself to try one, I realized that I had wasted 40 years’ worth of opportunities to eat these delicious sandwiches.
Similar to tuna melts, I had not tried sushi until turning 40. Raw fish? Wrapped in seaweed? Yuk! The only thing more disgusting than that sounds is how it looks. Until you get that first bite of spicy tuna roll that blows your mind. How many activities in other areas of life have you avoided because they sound weird? Who knew karaoke could be so much fun?
With such an incredible diversity of flavors and textures, you are missing out on a world of experience when you only eat steak and potatoes. Travelling to new places, making new friends and finding new activities makes you a more well-rounded person. You will attract more interesting people and you will be a more interesting friend/spouse/co-worker.
You have to continue to try new things (and re-try old things). As my grandmother would say, have a “No Thank You” bite. This meant, take a bite and, if you don’t care for it, you don’t have to take another. This includes having a bite of a food that you have already tried at some point in your life and may not have cared for. So many factors come into play here: maybe the jambalaya you had 5 years ago was over salted, or that papaya wasn’t fresh, etc. One bad experience does not have to ruin a lifetime of enjoyment you could possibly have. Go ahead and book that snowboarding trip…but order some lessons this time.