The other day my kids decided to play their own version of the Food Network’s Chopped. When you watch the tv show, the contestants have one hour, a few key ingredients, and need to WOW you with their masterpiece. They each get judged, receive criticism both positive and negative, then await the decision on the winner.
So, both kids got started getting all of their ingredients, meaning the only colors of play dough we had, and started plotting out their culinary works of art. Contestant A was so focused and deliberate with colors, shapes, and design, and used the entire hour on a quest for perfection. But was also convinced that victory was theirs just because of age and experience.
The other, Contestant B, more into the feeling of how the dough squished between the fingers, and the cool tools to cut, roll, and smash with. Using only about 15 minutes to complete the task, confident and pleased with the work done and left the competition area, only to enter the real kitchen to make an actual sandwich and proudly walk off eating it. Each contestant had different approaches, great results, and entirely different experiences doing the exact same challenge.
We posted the final dishes on Facebook, and asked social media land to judge and choose the winner. With so many great responses and a day long tally of votes. The verdict was in. We had a winner, but we also had some great lessons on competition, criticism, and confidence. And seriously, kids these days definitely need this kind of experience. It may seem harsh to have others judge my kids, but really let’s think about this. Are they judging my kid? Or are they judging the end product, by two people, they don’t know, and aren’t partial to the the participant’s feelings about it? It wasn’t an emotional play dough competition. It wasn’t a competition of who mom loves more. It wasn’t a lesson in making exceptions for the wishes of those involved. It was a straight up game of who the audience felt won them over. Yupp, it really can be just that simple sometimes.
After announcing the results, both contestants have very interesting reactions. Contestant B had won over the crowd, threw his hands up in the air and declared his awesomeness! Contestant A, stricken with shock, shook her head in disbelief. “But I used the entire time, and made all of these little details, and he barely made a taco,” she said. He responds with, “So….it doesn’t take that long to make a taco.” Ahhh, as I sit and listen to this exchange I can’t help but realize what a great lesson this really was, and not even just for kids.
When working on a project or idea:
- Having passion for the project will help you create it with ease
- Don’t focus so much on your competition, focus more on doing YOUR best
- Age or experience isn’t always going to win
- Know your audience
- Not winning does not mean you didn’t do a great job
- There will be a winner, and it might not be you. But there will always be another project and another chance to try
- Not winning isn’t losing! It’s how you learn a new way to win.
So there will always be another contest, another idea, and a new audience to share it with. Competition is a good thing, and so is confidence. The more opportunities you give yourself to try, the better you will get at both. Oh, and as for this contest, we found out there are a ton of people that LOVE a good taco, even if it is playdough.