People No Smarter Than You Made Up Life

by Tommy Leung on July 11th, 2018

I started making bread a couple of years ago.

The inspiration came from the Netflix documentary Cooked.

I am not so much into cooking as I am into traditional foods. Cooking like our ancestors did hundreds to thousands of years ago is appealing.

Making a fancy dish is not.

So I learned how to cultivate a wild yeast. Which is just mixing water and flour together and then letting it sit. Discarding half, mixing in more flour and water, and repeating until the right mix of yeast and bacteria is developed.

I had many failed breads in the beginning because my starter culture wasn’t quite ready or strong enough.

But now I have a pretty good glob of yeast and bacteria that I use to make bread on a weekly basis.

I even shipped the yeast across the country when I moved and it survived. You have to dry it and then bring it back to life.

Making bread is relatively simple. You only need 4 ingredients: water, flour, salt, and some starter culture.

But, of course, I didn’t think baking bread was simple until I learned how to do it. Seems easy now that I've done it for a few years.

Which leads one to wonder: how truly out of reach are certain seemingly difficult and complex things?

"Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure."

-Marianne Williamson

At the end of the day, another person developed, created, or figured it out so why can’t we also do it?

Which takes me to making bagels.

I’ve been making bread for a while but bagels seemed like a whole different level. You have to shape it, boil it, and then bake it.

Seemed like it was out of my ability as a simple bread maker.

But one day I tried to make pretzels. It was bagels or pretzels and I chose pretzels. And it turned out tasting like weirdly shaped bread.

It was not pretzel-like at all.

So next time I decided to try bagels instead. The process is similar. There’s shaping and boiling.

My first bagels were not great. The ends where I joined the dough to form a circle came apart. They were unevenly sized. Didn’t taste quite right.

But I kept trying and fixing errors from the previous batch.

And now my bagels are pretty good. They taste like bagels. The look like bagels--most of the time.

It has only been a few months of bagel making so there's many more improvements to be had.

The key was to try. And then you’ll discover that it wasn’t as hard as your mind made it out to be.

Odds are hundreds or thousands of people—no more intelligent or capable than you—are out there doing things that you think are too difficult or complex.

If someone else can do it then so can you.

"Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it. . . Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again."

- Steve Jobs