4 Life Lessons I Learned from ‘Chopped’

Hilary Porta
The Happy Human
Published in
3 min readJul 3, 2020


You’re walking around with no clue of what you’re doing…you’ve been given several different ingredients, but no one explained the process to you.

And then there are the challenges they throw at you.

Oh, and the salt. Don’t forget to add the salt.

This isn’t an episode of ‘Chopped’.

This is your life.

Just like the contestants on the famous reality-based cooking television game show series, when we’re exhausted we walk through this life totally blinded-sided, hustling to catch up and adapt, competing with everyone else.

We feel stressed by the pressure, and so we often feel we’re being judged — like the world has put us under a microscope and is watching our every move.

Maybe no one has told you this lately, so I will: we don’t have to run on the hamster wheel of anxiety, fear, and comparison. We can approach our challenges with excitement and confidence.

This is not your practice life.

There are several lessons we can learn from ‘Chopped’ (one of my favorite shows!) that apply to life. Allow me to illustrate with a few helpful nuggets (ha!):

1. Comparison distracts us and steals our joy.

When you view yourself as a competitor and everyone else as someone trying to steal your win, you become either a bully or a victim. Constantly comparing — looking at what others are doing, trying to go harder than them — can distract you from your goals.

When you learn to love yourself, flaws included, and celebrate the talent of others, you’re a winner no matter what.

2. “Mystery ingredients” can be opportunities.

Sometimes life throws us a mystery ingredient and flusters us. We were already stressed about the ingredients we do have!

It would be great if you had an idea of what was in the mystery basket…but you don’t. You’ve just got to roll with it. Embrace that ingredient, leverage it, use it to grow your creativity, your adaptability, your ingenuity.

Nothing teaches you to manage your time and focus your resources better than a mystery ingredient!

3. You’ve got to keep your focus.

Without fail, the chefs always get freaked out from over-analyzing what they’re capable of, what their limitations are, and how they can navigate the circumstances. They get so overwhelmed that they freeze and lose valuable time. I call this analysis paralysis.

On the flip side, there are some chefs who get overly ambitious and forget their end goal. They lose track of time, try to put too many ingredients in, or focus too much on presentation.

Don’t become paralyzed by inaction or lose your creative abilities because you’re under a microscope. Keep your eye on the prize.

The winners are the ones who know what they’re working towards and have a strategic game plan to get there.

4. Spice is everything.

I don’t know how many times the judges critique the dishes and their biggest complaint is, “there’s not enough salt!”

They don’t want bland dishes — they want flavorful ones.

We forget that we’re in charge of adding our seasonings; they make life so much tastier, richer, better.

Don’t settle for a boring life. Spice it up with unique hobbies, thrilling relationships, daring adventures, exciting self-development.

We can create the life we want out of our ingredients and our spices.

Here’s my biggest takeaway: champions have clarity.

They know what they’ve been dealt, they know their strengths, their gifts, and their talents. It is that awareness that prepares us to handle the “mystery ingredients” in life.

Becoming your own champion starts with knowing yourself, discovering your vision, and learning your purpose so you can walk into the mystery unafraid. We can’t afford to lose any time comparing ourselves to others or worrying about the outcome.

If you want to learn more about discovering your purpose and breaking free from anxiety, consider signing up for my program “R3: The Freedom Tour,” an 8-week online program designed to help women navigate perpetual emotional challenges to regain emotional stability and confidence, and build a framework for their future.

Let me help you take the ingredients that have been thrown at you and make them into something truly fantastic! Leave a comment below, and we’ll chat soon.

You can become the champion of your life. Just don’t forget the salt!



Hilary Porta
The Happy Human

Shame Slayer. Generational Shifter. Expander. Courage Ignitor. Advanced PSYCH-K® Practitioner.