Lessons from Sushi



If you have 40 minutes to spare and a subscription to Netflix streaming, here is something you might love.   Last night, while stuffing myself with cold medicines and briefly suspending my bad habit of multitasking, I watched the documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.” It is a reaffirming and inspiring film, about a man who has spent 70 years perfecting the art of sushi making.

His devotion and pride to his craft elevate sushi to a work of art.  And frankly, in a day and age where I hear most people complain about their jobs, it is refreshing to see somebody who simply cannot get enough of it.

It seems that his motto is: Do one thing, learn to do it well and then push yourself to keep doing better. What distinguishes a great chef and good one is this persistence in reaching higher and delving deeper into the tiny minutiae in order to improve.

This idea of specialization and discipline is what mesmerized me about the Japanese, when I first visited the country a few years ago.  I remember sitting in a cafe bakery, watching bakers in the open kitchen make batches of desserts.  The movements and steps were repetitive but they didn’t seem to be bored by it.  The cleanliness of the work area, the swift steadiness of their gestures, the quiet and calm aura all combined to make this seemingly simple and boring task a some kind of performance.

When that is the process from which the end results are borne, you cannot help but harbor a deeper appreciation of what you have in front of you.  It becomes more than just sustenance for the body; it begins to feed your imagination and soul.

I truly believe that if we all approached our jobs and passions with the same attitude, perhaps the world would slow down a bit and we can all enjoy the little details that could add magic to our everyday.



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