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Lane Rettig @lrettig
, 18 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
One of my favorite quotes of all time: when Julia Child, who did more than anyone to make cooking accessible to everyday people, said, "The more I cook, the more I like to cook."

There's a lot to unpack in this seemingly simple quote. Let me try to explain why I love it so much.
Most people don't know this, but Julia Child was _not_ a natural at cooking and discovered it rather late in life. She was self-conscious due to her height (6'2"), played sports in college, and majored in history. She began her career as a copywriter in New York.
She said of herself at the time, "I am sadly an ordinary person... with talents I do not use." She didn't enjoy her job as a writer and felt that her talents were going to waste.
Learning that she was too tall to join the military during WWII, she instead joined the Office of Strategic Services as a typist, but was quickly promoted to a position as a top-secret spy and sent to Asia to manage classified communications.
It was there that she met her husband, Paul Cushing Child, in Kunming, China. He was wealthy, had lived in Paris, and had a sophisticated palate. While living in France with him, he took her to a fine dinner in Rouen. The experience changed her life.
She said it was "an opening of the soul and spirit for me" and set her on a course of studying French cooking, and later teaching it to millions of Americans on her television show. She had finally discovered her passion at age 36.
"The more I cook, the more I like to cook."

This quote speaks powerfully to me of the importance of hard work. Long term, there are no shortcuts. The things most worth working towards in life all require hard work and dedication to achieve.
As I was struggling through yoga last night, I thought of this quote, and of my own experience learning to speak Chinese. I am _not_ a natural at learning foreign languages. I had previously studied French for six years and gave up because I still couldn't speak it.
I struggled mightily with Chinese. I studied it for one year in college, spent a summer intensively studying in Shanghai, and continued to take daily classes at Columbia while beginning my career in NYC. I kept at it because of a passion for the literature and culture...
but didn't feel that I was making progress. On top of that, the multiple dialects drove me crazy. I will never forget the frustration of arriving in Shanghai after years studying Mandarin and realizing that I didn't understand a word of the Shanghainese being spoken around me.
The same thing happened again when I moved to Hong Kong for work, this time with Cantonese. Six years after I had begun studying Chinese, I still felt that I had the language ability of a small child. I continued to work hard with a private tutor, though.
Then something almost magical happened. I had a breakthrough. I woke up one day and felt, for the first time, like I really had command of the language. I could speak the tones--not perfectly, but well enough to be understood. And I could understand most of what I heard.
I know it sounds crazy to say I had this "breakthrough moment" after six years but that's really how I felt at the time. It took thousands of hours of instruction and hard work, immersing myself, and intense work with a private tutor, but...
learning to read, write, speak, and understand Chinese has been one of the most fulfilling, enriching, rewarding investments of time in my life. It has opened countless doors. (And I wonder what would've happened if I had kept at French just slightly longer!)
This is what I was telling myself as I sweated through yoga last night--something else I am not a natural at, as I am far too lanky, clumsy, and inflexible. After a few years of hard work, however, I am now at the stage where I really enjoy yoga and really feel the benefits.
All of this is to say: hard work pays off. Whatever you are struggling with, stick with it. You'll get there. You are not defined by your present limitations. Remember that there are no shortcuts. The keys to success are focus and discipline. Cliche, I know, but true nonetheless.
If you haven't found your passion yet, keep looking! It's never too late. It took Julia Child until she was 36 to discover French cooking. I'm 35 and I've just found mine. There's no better time than the New Year to recommit yourself to focus, discipline--and exploration!
References: The Julia Child facts and anecdotes come from Wikipedia (…) and from chapter five of Springboard by G. Richard Shell (…), incidentally a fantastic, inspirational book which I highly recommend reading.
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