“Success is the sum total of a lot of small things done correctly.”–Chef Fernand Point. Use a tablespoon of salt instead of a teaspoon and the dish is ruined. Five minutes too long or too short in the oven and that dish is over or undercooked. Small things make big things. If you do not get the small things right, then you have no chance with the big things. Alter the small things enough, and you will no longer have the big thing you had/wanted. Attention to those small things, the details, means success. A word of caution: it is vital to distinguish between the small things that are important, and those that are inconsequential. Getting lost in trivial minutiae can ruin any chance you have of being productive and succeeding.
Mise en place: everything in its place. Not only does this mean orderliness and neatness, but preparation which in and of itself implies planning. Try stir frying without mise en place – all the veggies and tofu diced and the sauces ready – and you will burn down your house. The same applies to life. You cannot get anywhere without planning, preparation, and orderliness. Do not try to tell me your messy office has a system. In life, as in cooking, when you need an ingredient or a tool, you need to know right where to look to find it. Taking too long may make the difference between failure and success. Read this wonderful article on the importance of mise en place.
Taste along the way. You cannot simply season a dish when it is done. You have to taste and season throughout. Too much or too little seasoning can be fixed while you are cooking, but once you are done you are stuck with those over-salted mashed potatoes or bland marinara. In our everyday lives we need to periodically re-examine an re-assess our path, plans, and goals. Is this still working for me? Do I still want this? Am I still following the path as closely as I was? How can I get back on the path I want in life?
“Simplicity is the hallmark of great cooking.” Chef Bill Briwa. The secret to cooking is not fancy techniques, expensive oils, or some exotic spice. A great chef uses the freshest and best ingredients and does just enough to combine and enhance their flavors. The secret to a great life is to surround yourself with the best people and give them the freedom to do the things they need to do. This is also what makes a great leader.