Empower Those Around You

In Magazine, Robert's Letters by RI Magazine

As Restaurant: Impossible returns to TV, it carries a message that’s bigger than food or business.

BY ROBERT IRVINE

Restaurant: Impossible is coming back. I just finished filming four brand new episodes that you’ll be able to see on Food Network in the very near future. In short, I’m thrilled. It felt great to get back together with my team and to flex the unique set of muscles that Restaurant: Impossible requires: business analytics fused with design and construction and the culinary arts. The demands upon me and my team make it a great challenge. The constraints of the $10,000 budget and two-day time limit make it absolutely exhilarating. I’m incredibly proud of my team for what we accomplished this time around, and I’m anxious to share the results with you. 

As I sit here and write this, I’m thinking of how fortunate I’ve been. To be able to do what I do and film a show of this nature is a great privilege. I realize few who read this will ever get to attempt to save a business in record time, much less host a TV show. But the truly gratifying part of making Restaurant: Impossible is the opportunity to lift someone else up—and that’s an opportunity that all of us have, no matter where we are. Helping people is a powerful drug: it’s addictive, makes you feel incredible, and there’s never a downside to doing it too much. 

There’s an evolutionary reason for this. Mother Nature wisely decided to reward us with an endorphin rush for lifting someone out of a difficult or dangerous situation, a phenomenon that no doubt saved many of our Neanderthal forebears from the clutches of savage beasts—and in time helped us build modern civilization. Today, we don’t have to contend with sabretooth tigers on our way to work, but we face stressful situations that can sometimes feel every bit as perilous. When we encounter these crises, our primal survival instincts kick in and we fight. Not everyone, however, can win the battle on their own. 

The great lesson or Restaurant: Impossible—what I would like everyone who has ever watched the show to take away from it—is that you don’t need a demolition team and an interior designer to help someone. You don’t even need a dime. A word of encouragement to someone who is struggling can sometimes go just as far. Forget failing restaurants; every single one of us knows someone in need of help. Make the time to give that person a call, send them an e-mail, or drop by their house. Brainstorm with them. Problem solve. Find out how you can use your unique talents to help. You might just change—or save—their life. 

And remember: If you can’t be motivated to do this by reasons of morality, then by all means, do it for selfish reasons. You’re going to fell incredible for having helped. And no one needs to know why you did it. 

Yours in health, 

Robert

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