One time while eating a mango chicken salad at a restaurant called Costa Vida in Memphis, I told the manager that the salad changed my life. I felt weird saying it, but felt that I had to express how great the salad was to someone in power. He seemed to take me seriously, and asked me “How so?”. I didn’t feel like I had a well-articulated answer for him at the time, and again felt ridiculous for making such a proclamation about a chain restaurant’s salad.
The other day this came up in conversation, and I was asked again what I meant by that. I have also said the same thing about the sticky toffee pudding at Gordon Ramsay Steak here in Las Vegas (which is served with ice cream in the shape of a perfect stick of butter). I finally figured out what it is.
Things Can Be Better
The mango chicken salad and the sticky toffee pudding both made me believe that things can be better than they are. Sure, any restaurant can serve up their own version of either of these dishes (we were eating a sticky toffee pudding at a local chain restaurant and reminiscing about the one at Steak when this conversation topic came up). But we all know when someone has gone above and beyond what is commonly considered acceptable and crossed over to the level of unnecessarily amazing.
Unnecessary by the standards we are used to following, but necessary to truly make a difference in someone’s life. It is hard work to make something different and amazing, but so worth it when you look back on what you contributed to make the world a little bit better. Yes, we can let things go on being less than awesome, but where is the fun in that?
The difference between a mediocre restaurant and a highly-rated one often lies in the details. What are the little things that are being tended to at the fancy place that the regular place isn’t addressing? The answer translates into the difference between being inspiring and potentially life-changing, and, well, not.
We Can Make Things Better
It is up to us to make things better. We have the power to do it. No one is going to make us do it though. And other people might not even take very much notice or express very much appreciation. Doesn’t matter. If there is something you want to make better, you should just do it.
You may not know for a long while what the impact was of your efforts, if ever. Rest assured that someone, somewhere will be inspired. Because it is inspiring to see that things can be better than they already are. You might inspire someone else to go out and improve something with passion.
I have learned in recent years that presentation in serving meals matters, even if it is just an everyday meal at home. Pretty much everything we touch in a day can be improved in some way. It is satisfying to look back and know that you truly did the best you could, even if no one else was looking or keeping score.
We Can Make Things Better For Ourselves, Too
I learned from Oprah to “drink tea out of a pretty cup”. Even if I am just preparing a snack for myself, I try to make it look nice just for me. When I make a green smoothie, I pour it into a glass with a straw, rather than just drinking it out of the NutriBullet cup that is splattered from the mixing process. It is one extra dish to wash, but then the smoothie is its own enjoyable experience, not just something to hurriedly get through.
Even though it might take more time to improve something beyond standard expectations, it is much more satisfying than to just let it go on being boring and less than awesome. If something has great potential, why not help it shine? There are times in our lives that it is the little things, the little polishes of life that give us a belief that things can be better.
Is there something extra that you or someone else has done to make things better, even when it wasn’t required? Please share your thoughts below. Namaste.
image credit: tripadvisor