‘The revealing powers of seeming irrelevant details’

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8th August 2023

​The world-famous chef Heston Blumenthal was once asked, before trying the food, can Heston tell if a chef/restaurant is good?

“Yes, almost immediately after I sit down,” he said.

“As soon as the butter is brought to the table.”

Butter, he said, is an indicator of whether or not the chef has eaten at their own restaurant. It’s an indicator of whether the chef is creating for themself or for their guests.

If the butter is rock solid, if you tear the bread as you try to spread the butter, it signals that the chef hasn’t eaten at their own restaurant.

It’s a small detail but it wouldn’t be overlooked by a chef wanting to create a great experience from start to finish.

But if the butter is placed on the table, it’s room temperature, not so soft it looks limp but so soft it spreads easily—you’re in the vicinity of a chef who cares not just about their craft but their customers too.

It’s a small detail but you won’t ever be able to probe your knife towards the butter on a table at a restaurant without wondering, what’s it going to be?

Seemingly irrelevant detail, but so revealing about the restaurant & the chef.

Similarly, When Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel in 1973, Israel psychologists Amos Tversky and Danny Kahneman left their jobs, families, and homes in the U.S. and headed to Sinai. When they got there, the Israeli military psychology unit was working on a questionnaire to get some idea of how to boost the morale of the troops.

Tversky and Kahneman took off for the frontlines, figuring that’s where & how they’d get a better sense of how to boost the morale of the troops.

As soon as they got to Sinai, they realized the psychologists were wasting their time on those questionnaires. Shell-shocked, the soldiers were in no state to answer questions.

Bouncing around in the jeep through Sinai, Kahneman stopped beside a pile of trash on the roadside.

It was the soldier’s leftovers.

Kahneman drove from a pile of trash to a pile of trash, taking notes on what the soldiers were eating and what they were throwing away.

His subsequent recommendation, that the Israeli army analyze the garbage and supply the soldiers with what they actually wanted made newspaper headlines.

Similarly, in life, supposedly irrelevant details that we tend to overlook, often provide the clues to the better and optimal solution.

Look for small things, set them right & the solution will appear.

Find magic in the little things, and the big results you always expected will start to show up.

We forget the little things, so it’s no wonder many of us foul up the big things

If you want to make it big, remember to do the small seemingly irrelevant things well & stay blessed forever.