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Sometimes I just get lucky.

Rockin Daves bagel and sandwich shop, in Bend, Oregon is only a four block walk from my new home, and I had never been there until yesterday morning. I was planning on having my car winterized with new oil and a radiator flush and antifreeze, which was going to take half an hour. While that was taking place Debbie and I had planned to walk across the street to Rockin Daves for lunch. It was convenient, and we had heard that this little cafe was great. What a surprise to us just how great it turned out to be. What a pleasure it is to encounter people who really love their job! It’s those people you want to watch for, because they are the ones who will deliver what they consider to be the very best. They will ferret out those little details that make what they do as near perfect as their abilities will provide. With some experience those kind of people’s efforts will provide the superior results that will make them famous.

Where does perfection come from?

I don’t often eat meat, but when I do I prefer Reuben sandwiches. They are especially good with a little fresh beer. When they are done right they are superb. Brother’s Restaurant in Burlingame, CA had the best Reubens I ever had back when it was owned and operated by the original brothers. They retired and sold their business a dozen years ago, and ever since I have eaten a Reuben every couple of months in different places, hoping to relive that long gone but never forgotten experience. Finally my long quest has found a Reuben to match, and perhaps surpass, the
Burlingame Brothers’. You might wonder why I can wax on so weirdly about a sandwich, but it is because I realize that perfection can only come from the unusual combination of natural talent, training under a master, years of personal dedication to cultivating their art and consummate care.

Where you can spot enthusiasm.

Because we now have television you can often see performers who love their job and who have honed their particular calling to a perfection. You must watch for it, but with a little practice of watching for that particular loving trait you will see it. Steven Colbert is one of my current favorites. I have often wondered where he gets the energy to do what he does, and does so very well, but the answer is always there and exploding off the screen. He absolutely loves what he’s doing!

Some qualities to watch for and learn.

The last few years I lived in Berkeley I would attend lectures by famous people and go talk with them after their lectures for a short while. Famous people always love their job and they became famous because they were able to pursue whatever it was with their utmost vigor. For example, Yuen Lee was challenged by his faculty adviser every morning with, “What fabulous thing are you creating today?” Dr. Lee spoke with awe about that man, and he many years later was still manifesting a little bit of fear. The reason was that he was expected to provide a real answer and defend that answer. That is tough to do day after day, year after year. Lee did succeed in creating new and useful things, like laser trapping of single molecules for chemical research, and picked up a couple of Nobel Prizes along the way. Another person I met after a lecture who had the qualities I’m writing about was Michael Marks. His was a more generalized honesty, integrity and enthusiasm, but he had it in abundance. I started seeking out billionaires and Nobel Laureates because they are such interesting people, and the reason they were interesting is because they found a way to love what they were doing in the moment.

This little bagel shop has got the right stuff!

What has all this digression got to do with a tiny little bagel shop in a little town on the edge of the great Oregon desert? Dave’s got that same enthusiasm for his restaurant and for its productions as those other famous guys, and it shows in his Reuben Sandwich.

Find your personal enthusiasm and cultivate it to the maximum.