There are two simple ways you can look at life; it’s either a smorgasbord or a pot luck. The one you choose is crucial in determining the quality of your relationships, accomplishments and satisfaction with your life. So, which is it? Is life a smorgasbord or a pot luck?
Going to a really good smorgasbord is awesome! It doesn’t matter what food you are in the mood for because there’s a really good chance you’ll find something you want as you wander down the counter and peer at all the colourful and aromatic dishes. Even if you weren’t hungry when you walked in the door the sight of all that food makes you want to dive right in. You can start with dessert or something hot and then have a salad and more dessert, it’s totally up to you! What a fun way to eat. You can take this or take that. If you don’t like something it’s no big deal. Just leave it on your plate for the server to take away and go try something else.
A smorgasbord might be a fun way to eat but it’s a very unhealthy way to look at life.
The smorgasbord individual looks at life with the viewpoint, “what can I take from this?“. To them life is all about grabbing a little of this and taking a little of that. If they come across something they don’t like they have no problem pushing it aside and walking away. All of the incredible things life offers are simply more things the smorgasbord person can take. “I want this, I’m going to try this, I think I’ll take this“. That’s their perspective.
Unfortunately no matter how much they take from the smorgasbord they are never full. Nothing completely satisfies them. It’s an endless trip back to the counter to try the next dish that just came out from the kitchen. Even while they are sitting at their table they are looking around at what the people next to them are eating and thinking, “I should have gotten that instead!“. It might be a great way to eat but it’s a sad way to live.
The pot luck person has a completely different understanding of life. For them it’s about, “what can I bring to the table?“.
If you’ve ever been invited to a pot luck you know how much thought goes in to picking the right item to bring. People might be expecting your world-famous chili or the wonderful salad you put together. There is a great sense of pride in coming up with the perfect dish for the meal. You get excited about what you are bringing to make the shared meal extra special. It’s a complete 180-degree about-face from the smorgasbord meal.
Unfortunately however, even in the pot luck experience there is the opportunity for people to try to participate with the smorgasbord mentality. We’ve all seen these people at pot lucks. They either bring a bag of Dorito’s they bought at the convenience store on the way to the house or they bring ice! In some ways that’s almost worse than bringing nothing. When you bring something lame to a pot luck it’s like telling everyone you don’t care about sharing the load or doing your part to make the meal enjoyable for everyone. It’s that “what can I take?” thought pattern sneaking back in.
Life is a pot luck not a smorgasbord. A successful life is one that embraces giving, not taking. What can you bring to the pot luck of life? Are you one of the takers? Are you one that dumps a jar of pickles in a bowl and says, “that’s good enough“? Or are you someone who researches recipes, scours the grocery store for the perfect ingredients, painstakingly creates an incredible dish and proudly offers it to others, knowing very well that you might not get to partake in a single bite?
Life is all about giving. There are opportunities to give every moment of the day. If can be a smile, a hug and compliment, a $10 bill, a special gift or one hour of your time. There isn’t a single person on this planet that doesn’t have something to give. We are all invited to the pot luck of life and we all have something we can bring to the table.
If you’ve been looking at life as a smorgasbord there is still plenty of time to change. That is one of the incredible aspects of life. You are completely free to change yourself at any moment. You don’t need permission. You can do it right now.
It’s time to approach each day like a pot luck. You have everything you need to start giving from this moment on. Don’t be the “ice guy” or “jar of pickles girl“. The world needs whatever special dish you have inside you!