Simmering Your Projects

Usually, cooking instructions would say “let some ingredients simmer before adding further ingredients to it”. The idea is to let the food items wait a while usually on low to medium heat. Why? So that the best quality finished food can be achieved. The idea is the heat you apply to whatever you're cooking should not be above and beyond. It should not be like boiling heat. It should just be like low to moderate kind of heat and then you let the cooking gently come together. This is so that the taste can be better enjoyed. It could also be so that the ingredients could mix optimally.

When I think about how we apply to let things simmer in our daily lives or letting our projects simmer, I'm thinking from the perspective of - what happens to food that you’re supposed to allow to simmer but you don't? Probably because you’re in a hurry? And what are the lessons that can be taken from this?

So, if food is removed from a stove just a bit early, what will happen to the food? Are you going to get the same taste as if you had allowed it to simmer? Are you going to get the same flavor or quality? And so, if we look at whatever project we're working on from that angle, then I think we can appreciate letting our projects simmer.

The character of Linus in the movie “Ocean’s Twelve” comes to mind. Clearly, Linus has leadership capabilities. But he was too quick to launch. Danny and Rusty appear not to want to hurt his feelings and allowed him. He ended up being embarrassed in the meeting with Matsui. 

How about the story of Mr. Colts. His colleagues could never have imagined he would be out of business so soon. Especially not fired! Employees were whispering about it, in a hush-hush way. He didn't seem to have many friends or acquaintances who defended him. In every corridor or coffee corner, everybody seemed to be chatting about how he had offended them in one way or another. Some of Mr. Colts' evident character flaws included not showing up in the office, being late for meetings or not showing up for meetings at all, going red face when colleagues are not in agreement with his points, preaching a companywide culture of cost-cutting but flying first class and spending company's resources recklessly, and not respecting the instituted chain of command. While some people viewed these attributes as a show of "power", some believed the character flaws were too evident to last. The latter group was found to be correct when barely twelve months after his appointment, he was unceremoniously fired from the company. Mr. Colts needed a reminder that character should be simmered into business for continuity.

Now, the amount of waiting time that you apply to the project before readiness depends on the project itself. So, for example, if I was cooking Spaghetti Bolognese, I would want to let the stew simmer before applying lean beef. That amount of time is different from if I was cooking a steak, or chicken stirfry. It goes without saying then that there's no one-size-fits-all. I think the most important thing is you know your projects. Therefore, you need to now know what is at stake. You need to know what's the worst thing that can happen if you allow the project to launch now and if you are able to deal with that.

Knowing the recipe for your project or projects means not rushing to put things together and allowing simmering time. Allow time for things to come together. And while you're doing that, remember that when something is simmering you don’t completely turn the stove off. The heat should still be on the stove waiting patiently for the flavors to come together. This means that time by time, day by day, period by period, you’re blending things on your projects together. However, there's no pressure. You're stepping back. You're coming back on.  You're making sure that the heat on your project is not turned off. 

And then when you finally turn the heat off, your project is ready to be served. You can then say to your tasters - Bon Appétit!


Worry can weigh a person down, but an encouraging word cheers a person up. 'Cornish’s Cheer' hopes to be an encouragement to people who are under pressure, feel lonely, discouraged, or rejected. I hope these writings impart cheer, and hope and help you flourish with patience, love, and sincerity. Be encouraged and cheered. Also, practice 'speaking' positive affirmations, which can be a powerful tool to help boost confidence.

Nothing in this blog is intended to serve as life, career, health, or financial advice. Do your own research.