An Important Life Lesson from Gordon Ramsay

by Jason Kotecki on · 10 comments


Kim and I love watching MasterChef on Fox, starring one of our favorite TV personalities, fiery chef Gordon Ramsay.  MasterChef conducts a nationwide search for the best home cooks in America, and through a series of exciting elimination rounds, turns one of them into a culinary master.

In the initial audition episodes of the first season, the contestants have to prepare their signature dish for the panel of judges in an effort to win one of 30 aprons in order to advance to the next round. As she prepared her dish, a young Hispanic woman named Adeliz spoke passionately about her family's food history. In a misguided attempt to impress the judges, she used squeeze bottles to begin drawing squiggly lines of reduction sauce on the plate.

It didn't take long for them to sense a disconnect.

"I can hear the passion but I can't taste it. You're missing the most important part, the heart and soul of what you stand for." ~ Gordon Ramsay

In an unprecedented move, Ramsey gave her a second chance. With a time limit of two hours, he implored her to drive home, raid her cupboard, and come back with the ingredients to cook to her strength, something truly authentic.

She returned, free of pretension, and made New Mexican chile rellenos starring green chiles straight from her freezer. A dish she'd made hundreds of times for her family.

The judges loved it. They unanimously rewarded her with a coveted apron. Ramsay encouraged her to continue to play to her strengths and stay authentic.

While this proved to be excellent advice for Adeliz, I think it's a great life lesson for all of us.

You were created to be something special. Every time you pretend to be something you're not, or hide your uniqueness from the world, you lose a little bit of that specialness. You look more and more like everybody else.

School and society teaches us to conform, to follow the leader, and to work on our weaknesses in order to become "well-rounded." We're so used to it, we think of it as solid common sense.

But it's not.

You're creating unnecessary competition for yourself. You're blending in to the crowd. You're becoming both mediocre and invisible.

A school in our area recently hired a new second grade teacher. They had over one hundred applicants to choose from for one position. I'll guarantee you that the person they picked didn't look like everybody else.

Here's a fact: No matter how much work you do, you'll never lift your below-average skills to anything that rivals the efforts of someone who's naturally good at them. However, when focused towards the things you ARE good at, that same amount of effort can easily take you to a world-class level.

When I started out as a speaker (and an artist and writer, for that matter), I naturally imitated the people I admired. It's a great way to learn. But I have found that the more I unleash my own uniqueness into what I offer, the more uncopyable — and successful — I become.

Whether you're looking for a job, looking for a date, or looking for a way to be happy in life, the first step is to just be yourself.

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ~ Oscar Wilde

It really is a lot easier to be yourself than trying to pretend to be something you're not. The hardest part is getting to the point where you feel like YOU is good enough. Especially if you have yet to enjoy the success of some of your role models.

Let me tell you something. You are MORE than good enough. You have talents that no one else has. (At the very least, you are in a specific position to use them in a way no one else can.) The world doesn't need another (fill in the blank with your biggest hero), it needs you.

It needs your strengths, your passion, your authenticity.

Be you. The world is waiting.

by Jason Kotecki

Jason Kotecki is an artist, author, and professional speaker. Jason and his wife Kim (a former kindergarten teacher) make it their mission in life to fight Adultitis and help people use strategies from childhood to design lives with less stress and more fun. Stop by for more tips for escaping adulthood.
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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Terie March 13, 2013 at 5:46 am

This is inspiring me today! I recently went to a training for a job with a fitness group and as I shadowed the instructor I kept trying to be like her. I got nervous and made mistakes. I’ve been teaching for over 13 years, I haven my own style and I think I need to let ME shine through next time I shadow. Thanks, sometimes we need to be reminded to just BE who we were meant to be 🙂


Jason of Kim & Jason March 15, 2013 at 9:51 am

Yes, Terle, I often like to think of myself as a professional reminder-er. Glad the post helped!
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MrsFatass March 13, 2013 at 9:31 am

First off, I am the biggest Gordon Ramsay fan ever. EVER. He’s on my list of 5 and also my friend Heather worked on Kitchen Nightmares and has his cell phone number and can text him at any time and I don’t think I can ever be in the same room with her again lest I tackle her for her cell phone and sext him like there is no tomorrow.

But that’s not why I am commenting.

I think this is a wonderful post and it’s exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you for writing it.


Jason of Kim & Jason March 15, 2013 at 9:53 am

Glad you enjoyed it! Also, I am so jealous of your friend!
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Allan March 17, 2013 at 7:40 pm

hey guys,

I feel like most people are too focused on modeling the next person, looking like the one in the magazine, or having the hottest abs, instead of working on themselves…

Jason, thank you for this inspiring article… reminding us of how important we are, and why it is key to re-connect with our “authentic” part within ourselves!
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Jason of Kim & Jason March 17, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Hi Allen, nice comment. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, a bit of great advice a friend gave me once: “A life of compare leads to a life of despair.”
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Delena Silverfox March 19, 2013 at 11:54 pm

Hi, Jason!

I love Chef Ramsay! Why have I not seen this show? lol I’ll have to look for it now. He’s one of my favorite celebrity chefs and he cracks me up. Have you seen his show on the BBC where he goes to a prison and teaches some of the inmates there how to cook? I’ve been enjoying that one.

Another quote about individuality is Kurt Cobain. “Wanting to be someone else is a waste of who you are.” I’ve always loved that.

The thing I’ve struggled with when it comes to my own writing is, while I’ve always had a natural gift for the technical aspects of writing (I actually do get chills when I read a particularly artistic, grammatically perfect sentence. I’m a geek, I know.), my own voice is somewhat off-putting. I’m direct, I don’t mince words, and on my blog I’ve been known to drop the f-bomb on occasion. For a personal blog, that’s fine. For a published author blog, it doesn’t seem to be doing anybody any good, least of all myself. It’s a struggle sometimes not to change, or to adopt a persona, that will obviously be fake.
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Jason of Kim & Jason March 21, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Rock on with your geeky self, Delena! Love love LOVE the Kurt Cobain quote!
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Frontlier March 21, 2013 at 2:19 am

I think I have heard about Ramsay but don’t know much. More than that I found this post really inspiring.
I have seen many people behaving as someone else trying everything from talking style, walking style etc. but later on as in case of Adeliz, when they had to be them self, failing to to the thing that they wanted to do.

I think the people who be the person that they are will eventually make something distinctively difference in this world.
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Jason of Kim & Jason March 21, 2013 at 1:05 pm

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