This afternoon, I encountered a man who was in a state of deep reflection. Always the one to speak to strangers and share lighthearted moments, I asked the fella what he was pondering. He told me that he was just trying to figure out if he wanted sushi or fried chicken for lunch. I joked with him and told him that I thought he was about to solve which planet Donald Trump was born on and then told him after a chuckle “why not get both?”. He took me up on my advice and decided to get two fried chicken wings and one order of spicy salmon roll.
When he left with his chicken and sushi in tow, my mind started to fire up as I started to think “hey that’s actually not a bad idea for a restaurant”. I fell right back into my business consulting mode and started to draw up names for a would be restaurant, menus and the demographic that might support a sushi and fried chicken restaurant. After a few minutes of kicking around ideas, the name “Soul to Seoul” came to mind—a restaurant that is part soul food and cuisine from Seoul.
It made sense actually for both soul food and South Korean food are an amalgamation of many cultures. At the root of both cultures is hardship and oppression which led to food being created using products that would have otherwise been thrown away. Corn bread and collard greens were given to once slaves as leftover grub, part defiance and ingenuity turned third class food into first rate cuisine. Likewise in Korea, kimchi was a food of necessity as cabbage and various vegetables were pickled in order to preserve foods for seasons of barrenness. For anyone who wonders why I wrote sushi and South Korea in the same article, trust me, South Koreans eat sushi as much as Japanese people do and they are very adapt at making it too.
Both cultures turned burdens into blessings and now both soul food and food from Seoul are celebrated and eaten by the masses. This is the essence of food; it brings together people from different cultures and transcends borders and the endless ways we are divided as a people. This idea of mine is nothing new; there are endless restaurants who are doing the same things I just spoke of as fusion food is still the rage. In all honesty, my excitement was not so much about a potential restaurant as much as it was at the thought of me sparking a motivation in someone to think audaciously and start a business.
Too many of us are satisfied with a life of the mundane as we toil endless hours making the dreams of other people come true while we remain mired in 9-5 strife. Why not take a chance? This idea I just put forth is one of a thousand that have come and gone through my mind over the years. I know my strength; I am a big vision person who can help others implement ideas. My weakness is the process of running a business on a day to day basis. But what if people like me who think on a big scale were able to link up with people who love the operational aspect of business. Synergy would be formed as people build up their communities by becoming entrepreneurs where they live instead of working for corporations which are based overseas.
The ground is shifting beneath us as economic anxieties are the new normal. The day of careers are over; more and more of us are living a life of free agents. This is the uberization of our economy where 1099s are replacing W2s and seasonal work is the reality more and more college students are stepping into. The key to economic security is thus to work for ourselves. So go ahead and take a chance; start a business and if you fail get back to the 9-5 grind. It is better to break your back starting your own business than it is to bust your ass for someone else only to get a pink slip as our jobs keep getting shipped overseas.
I hope the same way my statement “why not get both” inspired the random guy to get sushi and fried chicken, likewise I hope this article inspires someone to start a restaurant. Whether that restaurant is Soul to Seoul that serves chicken and sushi or an Ethiopian restaurant that serves fusion food of gomen and collard green is not as important as the fact that we have audacity as a people to try something different. Only those who take a risk succeed in life; those who are afraid to take risks end up stuck in perpetual anxiety. Dream big and step out with equal parts faith and hard work. You just might turn dust into diamonds. #Soul2Seoul
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” ~ T. S. Eliot
If you appreciate the message behind this write up and think more people should step out audaciously in faith and try something different, share this article on social media using #Soul2Seoul
Check out this Ghion Cast below that talks about the very notion of taking risks and turning dust into diamonds.
Speaking of dust to diamond, after years of writing on social media for free, I decided to finally write a book. This is what happens when one decides to chase dreams instead of dreaming about them. Click HERE or on the picture below to find out about #Soul2Soil
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.