A Polar Vortex, Cayenne Peppers, and How Freezers Make Good Ideas Great

Considering most of you have been dealing with the polar vortex that has been cutting across most of the US in the first week of 2014, I wanted to lead this post with something hot: cayenne peppers.

Photo courtesy Forbes.com

Photo courtesy Forbes.com

2013 was a great year for my cayenne pepper plant; not just good, but great! I’m talking about basketfuls of these hot peppers that kept blossoming even into the autumn months. I knew these peppers would be an amazing addition to my “mountain-house chili” recipe that I would be able to showcase to my friends during our annual trip to the Smoky Mountains in November. However, since the trip was months away, I needed to save these picturesque peppers for this special occasion. Some great ideas take time to show their true potential, and there’s one kitchen appliance that can teach us a great lesson about patience and initiating great ideas at the most useful time. I’m talking about the FREEZER!

Photo courtesy Taz

Photo courtesy Taz

Think of ingredients as parts of great ideas. Sometimes you come across a great ingredient (ex. Cayenne peppers), but all the parts of the great idea aren’t ready yet. Maybe you have a blueprint but no building materials. Maybe you have new company policy that would cut costs, but no leadership role through which to implement it. What are you to do?! This could be the best idea you’ve ever had! How can you not put it to use right now? This thought process is why many great “ideas” never pan out, and it’s why acting like a freezer can lead to huge success.

Photo courtesy F. Delventhal

Photo courtesy F. Delventhal

Many people who think they have a great idea really only have part of a great idea. They don’t yet have the complete Recipe for Success that would make it a complete idea. On the other hand, too many people give up on what could be Something Worth Cooking before giving themselves a chance to find the other “ingredients.” The lesson of the freezer reminds us that you can’t use all your great “ingredients” at the same time, but that doesn’t mean they will go to waste.

Last week I discussed the importance of taking out the trash and getting rid of some old behaviors that may have been helpful at one point, but have served their purpose and are no longer useful. Some great meals you must enjoy in the moment and then allow yourself to move onto the next great dish. Then again, some great ingredients can, and should, be saved for when they can best be used. One way to do that is to throw those idea ingredients on ice.

  • What great “ingredients” for a great idea do you have right now?
  • Great ingredients are essential for a great meal, but sometimes figuring out what’s missing can make or break an amazing meal.
  • What ingredients do you need to throw in the freezer and save for a while and what other factors do you need to wait for (or go find) in order to best use your key component?
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