Piecing Together the Pie

“The path to success is taking massive determined action”- Tony Robbins

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Whether it’s New York style, Chicago deep-dish, or my favorite Midwestern tavern cut; the crust, sauce and cheese are the fundamental building blocks of all great pizza. All the ingredients must compliment each other and meld together before the true masterpiece, that is pizza, comes to life.

Like all good pizza needs a solid foundation, we too can benefit from a solid base of constructive habits and behaviors.  Equally important to having that base is implementing it.  With the help of a large greasy slice of New York style pizza I will take an important step towards forming my foundation.

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Practicing what I preach about pizza.

It’s 6:30 pm on a Friday night, I’m ready to be home and ready to relax.  All day I’ve looked forward to putting my feet up and enjoying some Pizza Di Roma delivered to my door.

That’s right Madison friends, Pizza Di Roma the New York style slice joint just opened a westside location that shows promise in delivering slices the size of my head to my house.  I tried to order last weekend and was assured this week the slice delivering would commence.

So, I’m at home, sweatpants on, ready to beach out and binge on some huge slices of New York style pizza.  I excitedly dial their number as i sink into my easy chair.  That’s when I hear the most dreaded phrase in the known pizza universe (besides “we’re out of cheese”):

We’re not delivering, would you like an order for pick up?

Sniffle….

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Are slices the size of my head delivered to my door too much to ask for? 

Can I suck it up and put into action the core pizza principles I go on about?  Here goes…

  1. Learn from the failure:  I could have called beforehand to make sure they delivered, next time I will do that.
  2. Detach from the situation and remain positive with some supportive self-talk “It’s Friday and it’s pizza time, the world is at my finger tips”.
  3. Give thanks and be grateful:  I remind myself I’m fortunate to have this day to eat delicious pizza.  This is a brand new business, give em a break.  Thanks Pizza Di Roma for opening a westside location!
  4. Take action: I’m putting on real pants and driving there to pick up some huge slices of pizza!

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The road to Pizza Di Roma is paved with insights and BBQ chicken slices.

None of the ideas I’ve discussed so far mean anything unless I put them into action in my day to day.  So far, I’ve recognized that detaching from thoughts, learning from failures, practicing gratitude, giving to others and always operating with enthusiasm are the building blocks to living a happier life and seeing some personal growth.  What is more important than me sharing these principles, is that I must practice them.

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What pizza taught me:

Just like a pizza needs it’s crust, sauce, and cheese to make it complete, we too must have a solid framework to rely on.  Learning and growing everyday is fundamental, but putting our thoughts into action is where the magic happens.

  • What I’m eating: Pizza Di Roma 18″ pepperoni and extra cheese pizza.  Slice of BBQ chicken and bacon.
  • What I’m reading: “Extreme Ownership” Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

One Pizza the Wiser.

“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” -Carl Gustav Jung

homemadebbqchickenI’ve always lived by a simple mantra “work hard, eat pizza hard”.  I go strong all week; work hard, avoid temptations, exercise and abide by a strict diet.  My finish line is Friday, and oh boy do I finish lavishly. I’m a firm believer in having a cheat day and mine happens to be Friday, which of course is also pizza day. As much as I love pizza, you could probably imagine that there is a lot of excitement and anticipation built up into this day.

So, I get home Friday night, the perfect pizza I’ve dreamed of all week in my hands.  I open the box, peer inside and to my horror the pizza sucks!  Imperfections scream back in my face.  A big, charred crater from a collapsed pizza bubble wreaks havoc over a third of the pie.  There’s at least one topping unaccounted for and where’s all the cheese?

Cue mental meltdown.

We’ve all been there; the pizza is burned or underdone, lacking cheese, deformed, delivered an hour late or cold. So, what happens when I wait all week, come home and the pizza is bogus?

Though I feel like crying, I attempt to focus all my energy towards a big deep breath and a smile.  It’s hard and a constant practice, but I try to take a bad outcome and creatively reconfigure it into something positive.  This time with the help of my wonderful wife Tess, the result was a delicious homemade BBQ chicken pizza.  Mmm, mmm, mmm.

Stumble, laugh, figure it out.

I try to salvage what I can or just move on.  I’ll make a frozen pizza or tear the kitchen apart and make my own pizza (Tess really does not prefer the latter if I’m on my own).  I feel just by taking charge and moving forward I can bring myself more joy than the original outcome could have.

I try to figure out what I can learn from the experience to improve for next time. Maybe, now I know not to order from a certain pizza place, or not to order a particular item, or not to order at such a busy time. I’m going to learn, get back up and continue on; one pizza the wiser.

It’s all about how you come back. 

Resilience makes all the difference, whether life dealt you a bad hand or you burned your frozen pizza, how you react and move forward is everything.   Our ability to turn rejections around can help us excel, pizza misfortunes can show us the way. If the pizza you looked forward to all week sucks; make your own pizza.

Everyday I pride myself not on the outcomes of situations, but on my response to situations. It’s not easy, but when I try to remind myself I have mental control, I feel I come out on top.  This allows me not to get swept up in a heated moment and move on.

What pizza taught me:

With a positive view and reaction to failure, we can grow and find even more happiness in life. If we embrace rejection and learn from it, we gain new insight and have a better ability to adapt to life’s obstacles.

  • What I’m eating: Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza: Sweet Baby Rays, leftover grilled chicken breast, mozzarella, cheddar, red onion and cilantro.
  • What I’m reading: “Good to Great”-Jim Collins