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Back in 2017, I spent the entire year trying out a new recipe each week, spanning multiple cuisines. And now all of these dishes are what I choose from when I'm deciding what to make for dinner each night.

When I initially set out on this journey, I remember thinking, how hard is it going to be to follow the instructions on a recipe to prepare different dishes? I can do anything when I have the directions clearly defined.

However, as I started out, I came across so many challenges.

While the ingredients were always listed on the recipe, often I wouldn't find the right variant of the ingredient and I would have to then research about what replacements I could use.

Again, the recipes would always say what quantity of each ingredient to use. However, I would need to modify the quantities if I used replacement ingredients. Moreover, the quantities would always be listed for a preparation for 2-4 people and I would be making it for one. And it isn't always a proportional scale down in the quantities.

This is the actual order of the recipe, of course. The instructions. It is all about putting the ingredients in the right quantities together. And perhaps the easiest to get right.

Very often, I would realise that I don't have the right tools and utensils to prepare a recipe. And by using something that I do have as a replacement, I wouldn't always get the expected result.

 I had to iterate over these four things multiple times to eventually arrive at good results.

Outside of recipes, we go through the same process for incorporating anything new - learning new habits, adopting new processes, incorporating new cultural elements, etc.

In doing so, we end up focusing a lot on the steps in the recipe itself while not enough in ensuring that we are getting all four elements right.

And unless we get all four elements right, we will only see sub-optimal results.

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