Food for Thought: Four Life Lessons I Learned In Restaurants

Note from Dan: I believe this guest post by my friend Kedric concerning some life lessons he learned in restaurants present some interesting food for thought that you should consider. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

You are what you eat!”

I hear this statement thrown around every time somebody tries to convince a person to swap french fries for a salad.

To a certain extent, it's true, but I’m not here to ramble about how eating fries will make you a blob of adipose tissue (maybe another time).

I bet eating out is an important part of your life. When you eat out, you're not just filling you're body with nutrients and vitamins; you're growing relationships with the people you care about.

In a way, your entire life resembles eating at a restaurant.

Food for Thought: Four Life-Lessons I Learned In Restaurants:

1. Being indecisive takes you nowhere.

When I’m ravenously hungry, I'll eat anything. Seriously – I'm not picky – anywhere is fine.

Unfortunately, my hunger always has to wait because of an (unnecessarily) long conversation about where to eat. I'm sure you've had this chat before. It typically goes like this:

Me: Where do you want to eat?

Friend: I don’t know, you pick.

Me: Okay, let’s head to the meat buffet nearby, I gotta load up on some animal flesh.

Friend: Nah, I don’t feel like eating too much today.

Me: Okay, you pick.

Friend: I’m good with anything.

Me: How about Italian?

Friend: Nah, I ate spaghetti for dinner yesterday.


I suggest another place, the cycle continues, my stomach grumbles sadly

We drive around in circles for what seems like 20 minutes, empty my gas tank, and fill the air with pollution. Awesome.

The mood is ruined, my friend and I are both ticked off, so we pull over at some random crappy place with horrible food that plays Twilight on replay. Satisfaction level: negative infinity.

Applied to Real Life: Every day, we have to make difficult decisions about which path to take.

We could fight like Hell to delay these decisions, wasting a bunch of time and energy, OR we could just be decisive and DO IT since we're eventually going to have to make a decision anyway.

Delay this important decision too long, and your motivation will suffer. You'll find your ass planted on a bench with wet paint.

In extreme cases of indecision, you'll end up going nowhere, because you've delayed a decision SO LONG that the paint dried. Now you're stuck on the chair of doom, forever.

Being indecisive takes us nowhere and causes unnecessary pollution. Make a choice and kick ass. Even if you later discover you could have made a better decision, don't freak out: learn from it, improve yourself, do better next time. Be decisive.

P.S. Meat buffets are ALWAYS a good idea.

2. Planning is absolutely essential.

You're having dinner with your girlfriend on your one-year-anniversary, and you want to impress her like the suave guy you are.

You suit up, pick her up with a bouquet of fresh flowers, and go to the most classy restaurant in town.

You get of your car – open her door – and escort her to the restaurant while the valet parks your car (oooooh, valet, fancy!).

Sounds like a date made in heaven, right? Wrong. The receptionist kindly informs you: “Sorry, sir, there are only 2 seats left at the smoking area.”

Your girlfriend is allergic to smoke, so that won't work; the slightest exposure causes tears to pour out of her eyes, as if she were surrounded by 1,000,000 sliced onions.

In a panic, you leave and take your girlfriend to a random restaurant down the road... and it sucks. Terrible service, the food tasted like crap, your girlfriend is pissed, worst date ever.

The Problem: You didn't take the time to plan for this important night out. Your girlfriend has every right to be pissed. It's your anniversary, bro. Make a reservation.

Applied to Real Life: We need to have a goal (most romantic date ever)—and a plan to reach that goal (restaurant reservation).

Without a plan, the odds of failure are high, because you don't have:

  • a) Anything resembling a strategy or
  • b) A way to measure your progress towards your goal.

No plan >>> no strategy >>> no progress.

Of course, things happen, so you might have to modify your plan later. Your plan doesn't have to be rigid or inflexible, but seriously, you need one.

Next time you go on a big date, call and make that reservation. Your girlfriend will thank you.

3. Overcome distractions.

If a restaurant kicks ass, it's going to be busy. There will be chatter, the music from a local band, klutz waiters tripping and breaking plates, banshee shrieks from annoying children, birthday songs performed by waiters who hate their lives, etc.

Does this mean your date is ruined? Absolutely not.

You can still gaze deeply into each other's eyes, focus on that lovely connection you share, and communicate with words softer than a whisper. Now that is what I call extreme focus (and a helluva relationship).

Applied to Real Life: When pursuing greater heights, there will always be distractions.

Some people love telling you all about their (often negative) opinion. The solution?  

Ignore it. Remain focused. If it isn't positive, you didn't hear it.

Dan John famously says, “The goal is to keep the goal the goal.”

Focus on your life goals like you would focus on the love of your life in a crowded restaurant on your anniversary. Don't allow negative noise to interrupt your journey (or your date).

4. We don’t always get what we want.

You order your favorite dish: Smoked lobster with bacon crumbs and cinnamon topping (I just made that up, but it sounds awesome, right?).

Problem: All the lobsters are sold out, but they can replace it with crab.

You have two options here:

  • A) Be a jerk to your waiter (that won't solve anything, plus it'll embarrass your girlfriend).
  • B) Order something else, or try it with the crab (who knows, it could become a new favorite).

Applied to Real Life: Despite all the planning in the world, you're still not going to get exactly what you want most of the time. Learn to deal with it.

I'm not saying you should settle for second-best. But don't get so emotionally distraught about an unexpected set-back that you give up.

If you were driving to the store to get some beers for Sunday Night Football and hit a roadblock, would you say “oh, well,” and go home? Hell, no. You'd find another path to that booze.

Your goals work the same way. If one path doesn't work, don't quit. Try a different route.

If your workout program isn't producing the Gun Show you expected, change a variable:

  • Try the exercises at a different rep range
  • Modify your carb or protein intake
  • If you've been doing a routine for a month or two and it's not working, try a new one

Failure isn't a reason to quit; it's an opportunity to improve. Never surrender.

I'd love to stay and chat, but writing this made me hungry. I think I'm gonna go hit up that meat buffet. Drop any questions and I'll get back with you as soon as I awake from my impending food coma.  

Kedric Kwan is a writer, lover of lifting heavy shit, and personal trainer.

He is an ardent believer in hard work and the pursuit of dreams. His mission is to reach out and help others be awesome at life.

Kedric is also a lover of all things meat and bacon (of which there is plenty in his home of Malaysia).

Please do not hesitate to connect on or tweet me @kedrickwan if you have any questions on training,nutrition and kicking ass.

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3 Responses to “Food for Thought: Four Life Lessons I Learned In Restaurants”

  1. Sonny's Sports Bar & Grill Says:

    All of this is very true. Thanks for posting!

  2. Amanda Drew Says:

    I like how you are applying restaurant lessons to real life. The one I like most is your fourth one about how we don’t always get what we want and how we can be a jerk to the waiter or order something else. Recently, I have been eating out a lot, and this mindset will be able to help me in other situations like this. Now I just need to find a restaurant to put your lessons into practice.

  3. Daniel Says:

    There are restaurants everywhere, so I can’t imagine it’d be too hard to find opportunities for practice. May I ask how that is going, Amanda? 🙂

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