Last fall, I signed up for a 2-for-1 subscription to MasterClass.com and this summer, I finally got a change to take some of the courses. I admit, I was intrigued by the big names. Could I learn the secrets of James Patterson, Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood? Dare I say it – even become a bestseller of my own?
Well, no. I found those classes really hard to focus on. Maybe it’s because it was summer and I was tired. They’re good classes with lots of supplemental, downloadable pdfs, but I had trouble following the conversation. I tried accelerating the speech, reading the closed captioning, skipping the introductory sessions, but my attention kept wandering. This didn’t exactly surprise me because I’ve always been a stronger visual learner than auditory, but it was disappointing.
I wanted to get my money’s worth, so I started watching the cooking classes. Now I was on to something! The chefs demonstrated stirring, measuring, kneading, all the cool stuff that goes into making high-end desserts. I love the cooking shows on TV, so this was a step further, not just pretty dishes, but how to make them. I’ll probably never will, but now I know how it’s done – the actual difference between pastry cream and ganache.
So why bother learning this? Well, if I ever have a chef character, this will be essential information. And even if I don’t, it’s good for your brain to try something new. We’re conditioned to succeed, to achieve, but by doing one thing over and over until you’re expert, you also work your mind in one pattern. That can be very limiting. To be creative, you have to think outside of what you’re good at. You have to try something different, something you don’t know. And yes, you may fail. I think I’m going to have to burn some sugar after all – just in time for Halloween!