Recipe for Success or Recipe for Disaster

This has nothing to do with cooking. Well, maybe a little…

Having explored many areas of life in many fields, I’ve seen a common denominator in the reviews people give of whatever system they’ve tried. Whether it’s a product, a fitness system, business concept, or nutrition plan, you can always find people who either swear by the system or argue against it.

Many of us are swayed most often by these reviews of a system from friends, associates, and family. But it’s important when accepting someone’s opinion or review of a product to listen for the other cues they give about it if you are to take their view seriously: Did they follow the recipe?

I hear it almost every day. Someone tells me that such and such diet works great, or another one doesn’t work at all. When pressed about it, the detractors especially say they did these parts of the system, but they still did another thing that wasn’t part of the plan.

  • They did most of the workout, but they don’t like stretching, so they left that part out.
  • They didn’t have all the ingredients for the recipe, so they substituted other spices.
  • They tried that business idea, but they don’t like sales pages, so that business is bogus.
  • They tried a way of eating, but couldn’t give up donuts, so they didn’t notice any results (after a week, usually).

Whatever the specific thing they’re denouncing, they’ve modified to suit themselves or their own vision of things, so they weren’t really doing the thing they’re telling me sucks.

If you didn’t actually do the workout, you can’t say it doesn’t work, because you have no idea. You are telling me that you failed to follow the recipe, not that the recipe itself failed. If you didn’t follow it, you have no idea.

Maybe it does suck. Perhaps it is built on a faulty foundation and poor science. Maybe it is a bad business plan idea. Try it completely as it’s laid out. But if you didn’t follow the plan, you can’t authoritatively say it doesn’t work.

So shut up already.

3 thoughts on “Recipe for Success or Recipe for Disaster

  1. uh oh, this has made me think. I am INCAPABLE of following a recipe from start to finsih; I adapt, improvise, bollocks it up. Now I’m wondering if I need to see if this approach is impacting my work too!
    That said, give me an ‘invention test’ with a fridge full of random ingredients and just see what I can create! There is a lesson in here somewhere…

    1. HA! The ability to make anything with whatever is at hand is a great skill to have! Nothing wrong with making your own version of things. I do the same all the time.

      Great, now I’m hungry again 😀

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