Chew On This


Here’s a true story from my past that is a bit on the gross side…not too much so. If you can hang in there, it’ll be worth your while!

One night when I was about eight years old we had steak for dinner. I remember chewing on a piece…

…and chewing

…and chewing.

Then I remember going for a ride somewhere with the family. A couple of hours must have elapsed when my father looked in the rear view mirror and saw my sister and I in the back seat. I was chewing…

…and chewing

…and chewing.

“Larry, what is that in your mouth?”


My mother’s head snapped back at me. Two parents recoiled in horror.

“Open the window and spit that out right now!!!”

I rolled down the window, put the poor piece of gristle in my hand, and flung; happy to be rid of the masticated mess.

Forty years later, my own kids had a good laugh at this tale. My wife had the same horrified reaction as my parents.

It never occurred to me at the time that this whole chewing thing wasn’t working out. How long would I have worked on this thing?

Would my jaw have locked up first?

Thank goodness I had loving parents who looked back.

Like I said, a mild gross-out factor.

But let’s take this gruesome metaphor to another place. How many of us work on something that obviously isn’t producing results? We labor over a nonproductive useless activity with the hope that it will somehow turn into something good.

And it doesn’t occur to us that its time has come and gone.

And it doesn’t occur to us that there are new things we could be working on that would yield better results. Hey, there’s lots of steak in the world!

Look at your own life. What are you doing that is no longer serving the purpose you originally had when you started?

What is the price of this activity? Dental distress? Something worse?

What would happen if you stepped back and tried something new, or at least tried the same thing with new material, or new energy?

Take a good look. Spit out your old habits and move onto bigger and better things!

Photo by bark

51 thoughts on “Chew On This”

  1. Larry, a fun story with a great message, I can remember a few occasions when the steak was a bit chewy, but thankfully I didn’t spend to long on the task before getting rid. I do think that there can be two sides to this message though, sometimes there are times when we should throw in the towel instead of keep on flogging a dead horse. There are also times that I can remember when I wanted to throw in that towel, but didn’t and just kept going and I am glad I did because I did eventually get the results I wanted.

    I think it is about adjusting our efforts, if something is not working and we have given it a good crack of the whip, then it might be time to adjust our efforts and try it from a different angle, if we keep adjusting our efforts we will get the results we are after.

    I can’t believe you chewed that steak for so long :)

  2. Thanks for the great post! I think we all have those things that we work on to for too long. We keep trying to finish a project that we should have stopped, or changed, a long time ago.
    Hopefully more of us will see that it’s ok to change gears and move on from something that’s just not going to help us in the long run.

  3. Hey that was a good one.Life’s fact well said with the innocent story of your childhood.It’s difficult to move on but we need to know the limits and go ahead.There has to be a full stop to everything.

  4. Larry, First I have to say that I had a good tummy laugh with your example. You have so succinctly described how we keep doing what doesn’t work again and again, and then wonder why? LOL!!!! We humans are crazy ones like this. I have often wondered why we seem to resist change so much. It is like there is this momentum that we get stuck in or we are just afraid of trying something different, so we keep trying harder rather than something different. maybe our parents taught us that we just need to try harder for things to work and that is the well worn path we take. Maybe we just want what we want so badly, we just try and try. Life needs to be fun and trying hard again and again is no fun. I have had much more fun trying something different.

  5. Great Metaphor Larry! I think a great way to figure out what’s not working or why we not producing results is to look at ourselves and see what’s preventing us from moving forward to bigger things.

  6. That may be the best thing I’ve read in ages? It certainly makes me think about the things I’ve been chewing on waaaaay too long.

  7. Hi, Larry!

    That is a good story and not really gross. Your observation is well made. We always need to make relevant changes in our lives. It is important that we take the time to recognize when we need to make our next change.

  8. Funny, gross story with a great message, Larry. I’ve got my own piece of gristle that I need to spit out. Your delightful disgustingness might just have done the trick. Thanks!

  9. Amazing how sometimes we fall into those traps, dealing with the routine day in and day out with no results… or at least not the ones we aspire to. It’s a relief to put down those things, leave them, and find better ways to use your time. Stick a fork in it and move on…

  10. I wasn’t too grossed out, but appreciate the analogy between your steak experience & life, in general.
    Sometimes, we get very comfortable and fear can keep us frozen in our tracks. If we just “spit out the fear” and do it anyway, we may fall flat on our faces OR we may spread out our wings and soar!

  11. Enjoyed your story, thanks. Sometimes we don’t have the life wisdom to know we need to draw a line, or understand when something isn’t as it “should” be, because, perhaps, we don’t have comparisons. To perpetuate the metaphor, conveying “this doesn’t taste right” may responded to by others with messages like “don’t waste food”, “or finish every last bite”, or reminded of our need “to be grateful for what we have” can undermine our confidence in our inner knowing. We can be prone to persevere in chomping on the cartilage, because we don’t trust or know what we know.

  12. Carolynne Melnyk

    I enjoyed this lesson! Great analogy! I don’t mmd chewing on things for a while but, when they start to drag me down I take a good at it to see if it time for something else. I am not afraid of change or new challenges. I guess I get a little bored when things get too routine.

  13. Hi Larry,
    Interesting story; I’m glad that you’ve outgrown that behavior. All I can say is that steak must have had some awesome flavor. I’m leaving you with a personal quote ~ Believe in yourself ~ Do what you do the best you can do it ~ Love every minute of it, it’s going to show ~ You’ll rise to greatness ~ I hope you like it. See you on the feed ~

  14. Great metaphor Larry. I thoroughly enjoy your blogs as a way of understanding the day to day efforts that each one of us might have. Way too many times, probably because of stubbornness, I have kept at something just because I felt I could get it go work only to find that I would have been better off just starting over. A true lesson in knowing when it is best to change course to the benefit of your own well being. I think too many inexperienced (and even experienced) online marketers find themselves in this type of predicament from time to time. Thanks for the message.

  15. I really enjoyed this post. What stood out for me was the power of community, or the guides that are able to hold up a mirror to our experience and point is in the right direction. I know I can get tunnel visioned with certain things I am working on and can struggle even trusting my gut when deep in this space. However, the guides will come. Maybe it will be our parents telling us to spit something out, or an encounter with a stranger or a blog post that changes things for us and puts our experience in a new perspective.

  16. Hello Larry,

    What a great story with a great message. Sometimes we just have to have “mother” slap us in the back of the head to move on to something that will produce results.

    Keep on inspiring!

    Stacie Walker
    Woman in Leadership Founder

  17. I know a lot of people who keep on chewing the same job that they don’t like because they get a fat salary or they cant leave because they need that money! Life is tough.

  18. Interesting way of capturing the point Larry. I do indeed try and do something new each week. Not always good at remembering to. This week it has been studying Spanish with Duolingo.

  19. Quitting, when used as an intelligent strategy, is generally what differentiates successful people from time wasters. It can be easy enough though, from time to time, to lose sight of the forest because of all the trees and to forget that there even are other options. It really helps to step back and take a look around now and then!

    1. Hi DeAnna,

      Somewhere I along the line I heard someone say you have to release the old stuff before you have room for the new. Certain I butchered the phrase, you get the idea.

      Or as the sage asks… “Are you busy or are you productive?” :)

  20. I can’t remember the last time I laughed out loud at a post with an important insight about bad habits. Awesome and thank you! :) :) :)

    Cheers, from one gristle-chewer to another.

    1. Hi DeAnna,

      Somewhere I along the line I heard someone say you have to release the old stuff before you have room for the new. Certain I butchered the phrase, you get the idea.

      Or as the sage asks… “Are you busy or are you productive?” :)

  21. Hi,

    This is a great story telling with a twist. Chewing story ending with a great message about habits.

    I need to get proactive and start thinking of the big picture rather than the small disgusting negatives.

    Thumbs up for this post.

  22. Inspirational post Larry! I bet that steak didn’t taste so good then! This piece has renewed in me something worth reflecting on. Identifying when something isn’t working for you, dropping it and moving on is necessity I find myself investing in quite a bit. And I’m the type who is naturally inclined to want to make things work for the better, even when they DON’T work.

  23. Larry, wonderful insight from your story. As you rightly said, there’s a difference between commitment and stubbornness. What’s most important is to know the right time to spit out that steak? I believe the answer to this question differentiates between success and failure.

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