What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything? – Vincent Van Gogh
A couple of weeks ago, I was at U-Zen with a friend, having a lovely dinner, catching up on news, when the waiter brought over a tiny bowl with what I generally referred to as “bugs”. They were deep fried and according to his words “good for protein, good for skin, and very tasty”. I pretty much made a face similar to the one that a baby makes when the mom tries to give him broccoli for the first time and declared that I would never eat bugs. I was able to identify one of them as being a grasshopper and thought to myself: “Really? We couldn’t find a better place to get our daily protein intake. We have to eat grasshoppers now.”
As the night went on, neither my friend nor I were touching the bugs. Actually, we were touching them, poking them with our chopsticks, wondering what the other two unidentified species were. But neither of us was willing to try it. Then another waiter came over and asked us if we tried them. We started talking to him about the content of that little bowl and he went on describing how they were a delicacy in Japan and how the chef had recently traveled to Japan and had brought them from there. As he was talking, I was thinking: “Did he bring them alive or dead? Were they raw or cooked? Did he have to declare them at customs? Did he write on the little form that asks you if you’re bringing any food in the country, saying that he’s bringing bugs?”
But then the waiter said something that pulled my attention away from the logistics of bringing bugs into US. “This is not something we serve here or something you will find on the menu in most places in LA. When is the next time you’ll get a chance to try them.” Those words resonated with me. I knew it wouldn’t kill me to try them because as a precaution my friend and I had already asked the waiter to eat one of the grasshoppers. Maybe I’ll get a little sick mostly by the idea of eating a grasshopper, but chances are I’ll be just fine. So I picked up my chopsticks, picked one of the grasshoppers, questioned again if I’m really going to eat a grasshopper and ate it. And you know what, the thought of it was way worse than the experience of eating it. Actually the experience wasn’t half bad.
Later in the night, I also tried bee larvae and silkworm. The bee larvae were actually good, the silk worm was pretty disgusting, but that’s not the point of the story. Once I took that first step, once I decided to take a chance and eat that first bug, the second and the third didn’t pose as much of a challenge. So my learning from all of that was: Just take the first step! Try it once! See what happens! Then reassess the situation.
Will I try bugs again? I don’t know. I have to say they’re not on my “yummy foods” list. They definitely don’t even make in on the list of foods that somehow become tastier the hungrier I get. But that’s not the point either. The point is that sometimes in life we are given chances that look appealing and we can’t wait to take them, while other times the chances are actually challenges.
When faced with a chance that looks more like a challenge, assess the situation, see if it’s worth taking the risk, look at the gains vs. the risk factor, but when it’s time to make the decision, go with your gut, make the chance that might be a little uncomfortable. You never know where it may lead you. You may end up having bragging rights and a video to prove that you actually ate a grasshopper and it wasn’t too bad.
Whatever the grasshopper is at this point in your life, take a chance! See what happens!