What to do with “Leftovers”

Last night I was hanging out with my wife watching a show on the Food Network called “Chopped” where Chefs compete in challenges that require them to take a seemingly random assortment of ingredients and a short time limit to transform those items into gourmet cuisine. I have a hard time making Pop Tarts  without burning them, so I’m always amazed at how these culinary artists make the most of what they’re given.

In this particular episode, the Chefs were given “Leftovers” as their only ingredients. For the dessert course, the ingredients included some refried beans, crackers and a melted vanilla milkshake. Somehow the two finalists transformed those undesirable leftovers into a delicious culinary masterpiece.

They didn’t inspire me to take up cooking as a hobby, but they did inspire me to see my own life in a new way. We’ve all felt like there have been times in life where we have been dealt a bad hand or had to deal with a set of circumstances that is less than ideal. When those moments come and you’re forced to make the most of less-than-ideal circumstances, here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Make the Most of What You’ve Got. You can’t always choose your circumstances, but you can always choose your reaction and your attitude. Maximize what you do have instead of wishing for something you don’t have.

2. Where others see “Leftovers,” choose to see “Possibilities!” When life hand you lemons, make lemonade (and make it the most delicious, fresh-squeezed lemonade on the planet). I’ve heard it said that, “Opportunities are usually disguised as Hard Work, so most people don’t recognize them.” Choose a positive perspective.

3. Don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself. Had those chefs wasted their limited time moping around wishing they’d been given better ingredients, they would have missed their window of opportunity to create something great with what they had. You may not have picked your current circumstances, but you can choose how you will shape tomorrow’s cicumstances.

Whatever life throws your way, choose to respond with faith, patience, grace and a positive perspective. With that mindset, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish…even when life hands you ‘Leftovers!”

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