That's not the whole story.

I had a conversation with my wife the other day about how by looking at people's instagrams, you are given the wrong impression about what it's like to have a child. Watching stories about the child laughing and doing silly things is delightful.

Our 3-month old is totally affecting us in ways we didn't anticipate — and not all necessarily in ways that are emotionally easy to deal with, like struggling to find time with the spouse, being in a state of anxiety and stress when the child won't stop crying, among other things... I'm sure other parents can relate.

Just a casual reminder that, while I think many of us have struggles that give us trouble on a day-to-day basis, it's not so easy to share these things on social media. What you see online is almost always not the whole story, and that everyone has something that's difficult, perplexing, or troublesome in front of them.

Dissolve the flour before adding it into hot liquids.

In an effort to thicken up a gravy that I was making, I made the mistake of putting flour directly into the hot liquid that I was stirring.

The flour curdled up and the gravy now has white bits of curdled up flour. Oops.

I should have dissolved the flour first in some kind of room temperature liquid, like the stock I was using or just plain water before putting it into the hot liquid.

This is a good lesson in cooking because cooking is not about simply combining ingredients to arrive at a dish. There are other dimensions, like how to prepare those ingredients or combinations of ingredients. Whether something is hot or not influences all of the physical and chemical reactions that occurs with other ingredients when mixed together.

It's important to understand the various dimensions that play into cooking, in order to be able to make smart decisions on adjusting your recipe.

Following recipes line-by-line will surely get you close to a promised result. But it doesn't teach you why the recipe is able to achieve what it achieves. Completing a dish certainly feels good, but the "why it works" is the more interesting part because it paves the way for you to be able to concoct your own delicious creations.

The "why it works" mindset is what leads to being able to hear the art in music, see the art in a painting, and taste the artistic decisions of a dish.

"Why does this work?" is a powerful question, and I ought to ask myself that more often.

The Crying Baby Within

Babies that are about a month old cry a lot.

But it's nothing personal.

It's not that you're a bad parent if your baby cries. It just means your baby is doing what baby knows how to do best. As a new parent, I've quickly discovered that crying is one of the few biological instincts that a one-month old baby has.

Why assume the baby has ill-willed intentions? That's silly. Every parent knows not to take it personally.

But, then, when it comes to adult life, we often tire ourselves out questioning the intent of other adults. When someone else lashes out, we wonder if it is due to some ill will towards us because other adults don't look like babies, and we know how capable we ourselves are of making rational decisions.

But the reality is, in most situations, other adults are dealing with their own demons and voices in their own heads that make them react to outside events in ways that are unpredictable to us. They don't think about what ill will they have towards you and make a calculated decision as to how to project their emotions on to you.

I like to think of this as the "crying baby" instinct. I think we all have it. When we are overwhelmed with emotion, not sure how to react, don't have a clear head, we often find ourselves falling back on poor behavioral patterns and hurt others around us who are willing to deal with it.

Most people mean well.

The others – the adults who continually inflict harm on those around them despite being aware of what they are doing — are purposefully deflecting the hatred and judgement they have toward themselves at others.

That's an unfortunate way to live life and I feel pity towards them.

Maybe You Only Need One Pitch

Imagine you are a professional pitcher and you only have the ability to throw one pitch. It's a fastball with good movement that's decently fast. Definitely not the fastest. Perhaps maybe a little above average speed, but nothing special.

How could you be a great pitcher? It can't be about focusing on the lack of pitch repertoire – that choice is gone in this hypothetical scenario.

It would have to be about perfecting everything else. The accuracy of the pitches. The slight variances in speed to keep batters on their toes. The timing of the wind up. The pressure you put on runners with your pick-off move.

Having accuracy does seem to do wonders for a baseball pitcher. Take for example Koji Uehara. He was a 38-year old pitcher in 2013 when he earned the MVP title in the ALCS (American League Championship Series.) He didn't have the fastest pitches (in fact, pretty slow fast ball at sub 90) or the most diverse pitching repertoire. What he had was accuracy. He threw an unbelievable amount of strikes relative to balls. And the outcomes show the effectiveness of such skills (They won the world series that year.)

There's something to be said about being a one-pitch type of person. Being really good at delivering on that one thing. You end up becoming known for being good at that one thing. And because you're good at it, you earn the trust and respect of others.

With minimized distractions and clarity on what to focus on, the one-pitch becomes the perfect backdrop to be able to let the other stuff that matters shine through.

Are you focusing on too many things?

Maybe it's time to reduce the pitching repertoire and focus on the effectiveness of the pitches instead.

Vice

I grew up in a household where my father worked well into the late hours of the night moving up the corporate ladder. I was relatively young then and I don't really remember spending a lot of weeknights with him.

He eventually had a change of heart and quit his job of being a higher-up in the corporate world and then became a pastor. Even then, he would relentlessly prepare his sermons throughout the week and spend his open weekdays, nights, and weekends with other church goers doing pastorly duties. I could tell he loved his job.

Actually, I could tell he just loved working.

My role model growing up was someone who's vice was his work. Looking back at it now, I can see that it wasn't the content of the work itself, but rather the act of doing work.

Though it may seem unintuitive, the content of the work you do is not what determines whether you are fulfilled or unfulfilled. I do think it's an important part of the equation. But I think a necessary prerequisite to finding fulfillment in work is to learn to like the act of doing work in the first place.

I attribute most of my ability to find fulfillment in the work, not to the love that I feel towards the work, but to the satisfaction I feel when I am working and being productive.

The best part is that a particular project, gig, or job may be swiped away from me one day. But the act of working will never go away. There's always something to be doing to create value in this world.

My vice is working.