Samurai and Pancakes

The samurai learned lessons from everything around them. I smirk when I imagine where they would draw their inspirations for teaching in today’s world. Maybe the internet, airplanes…maybe for her willingness to strike first, a nod would go to Jersey Shore’s Snookie.

The other day I realized that inspiration could be had from a simple pancake recipe.

I was making pancakes for my kids. I followed the recipe on the box word for word. Each pancake came out as thick as my leg. I had a short stack and they sat in my stomach like rocks for four hours. I felt gross. And then it occurred to me…the recipe on the box…could it possibly be wrong? I’ve had thin, delicious pancakes before. The ingredients can’t be too different…milk, eggs, mix.

I don’t want to negatively call out a particular brand of pancake mix. So let’s use some totally fictitious brand, with some made-up name…like say…Aunt Bemima. So Aunt B calls for 1 cup of mix with 3/4 cups of milk and one egg. And a tablespoon of oil. And this produces a stack of bricks you could build a house with. Each pancake feels like it weighs a pound by itself.

This got me thinking…if you are an executive at Aunt Bemima, what recipe would you write on the box? The one that tasted the absolute best? Or the one that was good enough, and had most people use the most mix? The answer is simple…if more customers use more mix, they are forced to buy more, therefore the company makes more money.

OK, the pancakes still taste pretty good. But you could throw maple syrup and butter literally on a red brick and I’d gnaw on that for a while. It’s just a good combination.

And look, if they gave you a terrible recipe, that wouldn’t be good for Aunt B’s sales. They wouldn’t sell a lot of mix. But they’re not going to give you the best recipe. Only the best recipe in terms of their business.

The simple lesson here is this…people tend to look out for their own self interests. Do not just blindly follow any recipe someone else gives you. Understand this in all aspects of your life. Question anything that is sub-standard to YOU. Question everything that’s not working for you, no matter how smart the person or established the company is that’s putting it out there.

If people are always doing what’s in their best interests, you better be looking out for yours. Shape the everything in your world to fit into your best interests.

And as a side note…when I was growing up, weren’t pancake and waffle mix two different things? Am I crazy to think that? They come in the same box now and have the same recipe except to add another tablespoon of oil for the waffles. Who all of the sudden made that switch? Who the f are these people?

3/4 cup of pancake mix, 1 cup of milk, 2 eggs, 1 table spoon of melted butter

That’s my recipe…and I know I’m overcompensating. The batter comes out like water. They look almost as thin as crepes, if you’ve ever had those. Maybe my kind of pancakes aren’t right for you, but that’s how I like ’em. Find your own balance of the ingredients. Maybe you even like them thicker than the box recipe calls for. Maybe your favorite blend of the ingredients is exactly how the recipe calls for them to be made on the box…but at least let that be your choice…not someone else’s.