Life’s like the great brownie curveball, so adapt and improvise!

You know how when you have the cooking mojo, and you start making plans to make something for makan that you know will satisfy your cravings?

So, you go to the kitchen, you dig through the cabinets, larders, fridge, shelves and what have you, for all the ingredients you need to make that super-duper fabulous three-way chocolate fudgy brownies.

But you are stumped!

Of all the things to not have in the kitchen … chocolates!

Life is out to get you. You cry a river of tears that cascades into a trail that becomes a stream that drowns the ants on the cold tile floor where you now reside.

Your new place of forlornness, of sorrow, of bitter despair … ah bitter, would have been so good with sweet and chocolate.

Alas, your mother/husband/wife/child/neighbour/former Kemahiran Hidup school teacher walks in and sees the dramatics. Picks you up, or maybe glares at you until you stir to look and tells you: “Get up! Use what you have. Improvise!”

All of a sudden – LIGHT BULB.

You dig around and find cocoa powder and Maltesers, so you go and make a different type of brownie – a ‘Crushed Maltesers brownie’.

The sheer deliciousness of it made you so famous that the mayor named a street after you.

Okay, yes. A gross exaggeration, but I have the creative licence to be a little dramatic once in a while.

Anyway, the moral of the story – in life, nothing is perfect. You may have planned the most sumptuous desserts, but things sometimes do not work the way you want them to.

You want to make lasagne, but you are short on cream and cheese. Improvise. Make the Bechamel sauce out of mashed pumpkin and chicken stock. Tadaa, you have inadvertently made a healthier lasagne.

No buah keras for your asam pedas? Think of the purpose of the candlenut. What is similar? Cashews or almonds. Use them. I am sure you would not be able to tell the difference.

Adaptability and improvisation are not only necessary in the kitchen. You need that in life, too.

They are critical traits to have. The only thing constant in life is change. So, what can you do to get through it?

You improvise.

You manage and change plans.

Get creative.

Adapt (and adopt – don’t shop!)


Make do with the resources you have. It does not mean it will be worse than what you planned. In fact, like my fictional story, it may just turn out to be the greatest brownie the world has ever tasted!

Just look at the many successful people around. Most will have a story to tell of how they had to make changes. Rethink their strategy, rework an idea. Purge and do a 360.

The thing that made them successful, was that they did not give up. They are quick-witted enough to make the unplanned work.

When Albert Einstein dropped out of school, it did not stop him from becoming one of the most brilliant minds the world had seen.

When Milton Hershey was fired as a printer’s apprentice, he changed his future and created Hershey’s chocolate.

When the pilot near my place lost his job during the pandemic, he adapted. He started selling the best burgers around this area and made a success out of it.

When the going gets tough, some people get tougher and thrive. And the only way to do that is to not give up on yourself.

You improvise and learn a new skill. You find an avenue you can tap.

You move along and make the best out of things. Make lemons into lemonade. Make lime into Sirap Limau.

You may not become the next Bill Gates, but you can make a wonderful life for yourself and your family.

Just #kipidap #dongibap!

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