29 Oct 7 beautiful life lessons from Masterchef Australia (yes, really)
I have a dirty little secret.
I have become completely obsessed with Masterchef Australia.
It started innocently enough – it came on the TV one day, and I would drift in and out on my breaks from working.
Slowly (and inevitably) those breaks got longer and longer, until I was glued to the screen - gasping with joy, weeping in disappointment and marvelling at the people involved.
You see, Masterchef Australia is unlike any TV show, ESPECIALLY a reality tv show, that I have ever seen.
Because they are all so goddamn NICE to each other.
In a world full of entertainment gleaned from nastiness, violence and put-downs, to see people cheering each other on, displaying extreme kindness and being humble and helpful and, well… nice, is wonderful to behold.
I tell you what, it REALLY got me thinking. Here are a few of my thoughts:
- The most successful people are those most invested in other people’s success. They are also the kindest, the most humble and the most supportive of others.
- Praise makes you brave & you catch more flies with honey. The judges on the show are so invested in the success of their competitors. They’re insanely encouraging – from comforting contestants who are bitterly disappointed with their performance to shaking hands with those who exceed expectations. They always apologise when contestants are eliminated and make a point of encouraging them to keep going after their dreams – sometimes they even go so far as offering them work in their own restaurants!
- Friendship matters more than competition. People of like mind will naturally find each other, and when they do it becomes almost impossible for them to compete against each other. So, they compete against themselves – always striving to better their last performance – not to beat the others, but to do the best that they can do. They consistently put the needs and desires of the others above their own – even to the point of volunteering for elimination so their friends can keep going in the competition. The lovely thing is, because they ALL do it, everyone’s needs and desires are met, and there are a few second chances built into the very structure of the competition. Seriously, people – it’s inspiring.
- ‘Nice guys/girls finish last’ is total bullshit. One of the nicest, kindest, loveliest human beings I have ever seen was the winner of the first series. She was determined and worked like a trooper, BUT she also encouraged her fellow contestants ALL THE TIME. She was the first to hug them and congratulate them if they beat her in a challenge. Even when some eliminated contestants rejoined the show (ultimately making it more difficult for those remaining to win), rather than be annoyed at the extra competition, she was jumping up and down in excitement and pleasure to see them.
- No matter how good you are at your craft, you can still be floored by a total beginner. One of the challenges in Masterchef Australia is a ‘cook off’ between a celebrity chef and one of our amateurs, where they have to cook one of the celebrity chef’s signature dishes. These chefs stake their reputation on being able to cook their own signature dish better than an amateur, but, very occasionally, they get beaten. The strange and glorious correlation is that the more famous and successful the chef, the more gracious and humble a loser they are.
- If someone does better than you, the best thing to do is offer to help them. Following on from the previous point – the most famous and successful chefs know a good thing when they see it. If they get beaten by an amateur, most of them will offer that contestant a job on the spot.
- If you show promise, even as an amateur, people more successful than you will be falling over themselves to help you out. One of the contestants in the first series was extremely good at her craft, but in a cruel twist of fate she was eliminated. It was emotional – she was crying, the judges were crying, I was crying… They did a little vignette about her, showing what happened after she left the show. She had had offers of work from two of the judges; one of the celebrity chefs she had worked with in the competition went round to her house to try and convince her to let him mentor her; and, her ultimate food hero had also said that he wanted her to work in his kitchen. If you’re good at what you do, the opportunities will come to you.
If you’ve never seen Masterchef Australia, you need to watch at least the first series. It will change your life.
My top lesson from all this?
Practice extreme kindness at all times and you will go far.
Plus, you’ll make the world an infinitely better place for all of us. The reason this show moved me so much is that seeing people being so lovely to each other is HIGHLY UNUSUAL.
We need to change that.
So, if you find yourself struggling – with life, with work, with business – stop what you’re doing and go and do something nice for somebody else.
Much love & gratitude