I came across this quote some time ago, and I don’t think there was a source mentioned. If I remember correctly, I found it from amongst a bunch of motivational signs wartime factories put up all over their premises.
It struck a chord with me because I’ve always been interested in “success” and being an expert or a specialist in a certain field. I’ve always been more intrigued by specialists than by jacks-of-all-trades (unless you’re an expert at being a jack-of-all-trades, but I think that’s pretty unique as well), which is why when I heard of this documentary, Jiro Dreams Of Sushi, I knew I had to watch it.
Many, though not all, things he said got me nodding in agreement. One of those is: once you decide to do something, do it well. Learn how to improve yourself and be the best at what you do. Why else would you do it if it wasn’t worth doing well? And what is the meaning of life if you while away your time here on earth doing something you don’t do well and aren’t happy with?
Like every single thing in life, preparation takes the most effort and the longest time. And as it is with cooking, so is it with something you love doing. You’re not going to wake up one day – unless you’re one of the few lucky ones who’ve known what they’ve wanted to do since they were kids – knowing what you love to do and want to do for the rest of your life. You have to work at it, figure it out, try lots of things, be brave and keep at it.
Jiro’s 3-Michelin star restaurant serves only sushi, to only 10 customers for lunch, and 10 for dinner. Bookings are made at least a month in advance, and a meal starts at 225 euros, depending on what’s available that day (market trips take place every morning). He remains humble, a perfectionist and is always striving to make better sushi.
Does he have to write cookbooks or open branches worldwide (the only branch of his restaurant is run by his younger son, while his older son will take over the original restaurant when Jiro retires) or have a travelling cooking show on TV? Does he have to have millions (or billions, if we’re talking Japanese yen) in the bank? I don’t think so. He’s a specialist and he loves what he does. I think that’s what success is.