Doing Things that Scare Us – January 2017 Cook’s Library with Patsy column

We should do things that scare us. When we are uncomfortable we have a chance to grow. If we keep doing the same things over and over we get very practiced at them, but we don’t learn anything new. When we’re doing something so different that it scares us we have the opportunity to learn. We figure things out. We grow.

Sometimes we also come up with innovations that those deeply embedded in a particular field can’t see. There’s a website where scientists post problems they’re working on and others try to solve them. The interesting thing is that the people who solve long-standing problems in one discipline are usually from a different one. They are able to see beyond what is believed to be possible.

More than once I have gone into careers where I had no background or training. That was sometimes terrifying – it was my livelihood, after all. But these were also huge opportunities to have experiences I wouldn’t have had any other way. In my personal life I live by the motto to “seek – new people, new places and new ideas.”

Because of my willingness to step into the unknown, I’ve had opportunities that could not have been anticipated. They weren’t planned. They just happened because I said “yes” to something that eventually led to those moments. In retrospect, everyone thinks it’s obvious. When you’re taking the initial leap, everyone thinks it’s crazy.

But how else do we truly learn? It’s one thing to study something and another to live it.

If you’re not a person who likes to take big risks, start with a small one. Try a new recipe or learn a foreign language. Eventually maybe you’ll want to throw a dinner party with that recipe or travel where you can try out that language.

Here’s a recipe I know will garner you rave reviews at that dinner party. It’s one of my favorite cakes.

Carrot Cake

2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups salad oil
4 well-beaten eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsps. baking powder
1 tsps. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsps. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped pecans
3 cups grated carrots

Mix sugar and oil. Add eggs and mix. Set aside.

Blend dry ingredients and stir into the oil mixture.  Add pecans and carrots. Mix well.

Pour into three greased and floured 9-inch cake pans.

Bake about 30 minutes at 325 degrees.

(I double this recipe when I make it, but I am giving you the original recipe.)

16 ounces powdered sugar
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 stick margarine
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix well and spread over cooled cake.