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The Thrill Is Gone?

The Thrill Is Gone?

Hello and good day!

A four-year-old boy comes wobbling down the road on his small red bike. His knees are scraped and bloody and his face is dusted with dirt. One foot is up on a pedal and the other is pushing on the ground to accelerate the bike's speed.

Once he is moving fast enough, he lifts up the second foot and starts pedaling. For a few brief seconds he is riding a two-wheel bike, but then his handlebar turns sideways, and he crashes down on the gravely black road.

The impact of the fall sends dust flying up into his face. His arms are out in front of him, and a new scrape has opened on his elbow. For a second, he considers crying, but then decides against it.

His dad walks over. "Are you ok? Are you ready to go in? You've fallen a lot. You're getting pretty banged up," says the dad. The little boy looks up at his father, his face dirtier than ever.

"Again," says the boy. He stands up and slaps dirt off his shirt and shorts. He wipes blood off the elbow with his other hand and wipes up new blood oozing out of old cuts on each of his knees. He walks up the road with his red bike and starts over.

This time, he holds the handlebar steady and rides down the quiet road until the father can barely see him anymore. Once he's gone far enough to satisfy himself, the boy puts his feet on the ground to walk through a turn around, and then rides back.

At their driveway, the boy throws his bike on the ground and gives his dad a hug. "You did it!" shouts the dad, clapping his hands. "Go tell mommy!"

The little boy runs up the driveway and bursts in through the front door. "I did it! I can ride a bike mommy! Come see!" shouts the boy. The mother comes running down to watch and the little boy does it again, perfectly. The parents stand and watch, proud, for several more rides. Then the mom goes back inside, and the father stays to keep an eye on his children.The four-year-old tires out and sits down in a patch of grass by the side of the road.

Meanwhile, an older son comes pumping by on his big bike. The father feels wind when the boy rides by and hears the sound of the chain pulling and the tires rubbing hard and fast on the asphalt. The older boy's face is red, and he is sweating. He is lean and has strong wide shoulders. His t-shirt is sticking to his body from the sweat.

He turns onto an uphill road. His speed carries him a long way up before he expertly hooks a sharp U-turn and comes flying back down. In front of his father, he presses down hard on his back break and the back tire skids out and the bike floats sideways.

For a second, it looks as if the bike and the boy will fall, but the boy straightens out the bike with his strong arms and core, and after a long skid, comes to a full upright stop in front of his dad. It is skilled and precise bike riding.The older boy hasn't fallen all day. His knees and elbows are clean.

"What did you think of that?" asks the older son. The dad walks over to the son and pats him on his strong, damp shoulder. "You're getting better all the time son. I love it," says the dad.

There are no hysterics. The boy doesn't run upstairs to tell his mother what he did. The dad doesn't jump up and down applauding.There is simply quiet recognition of the boy's mastery.

This is one of life's ironies.

The first time you do something, there is a celebration, even though your skills are poorly developed, and you really haven't done the thing very well. As time goes on and you become a master at what you do, there tends to be much less fanfare and you carry out the activity as a matter of course.

Technology works this way.

Later versions are generally much better than initial releases, but the flagship version appears to be a huge leap forward and gets more attention. We're kind of blasé about something like a laptop now.But the first time I ever connected to the internet on a PC was a big deal.

When our chocolate was written up in the New York Times back in 2011, it felt like the most important thing in the world. When we were featured on Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain in 2013, it felt like everything was finally coming together.

However, we are better now in every phase of our business than we were then. We process cacao better. We manage logistics better. We have more products. Our business model is more stable.

And yet, we haven't received any major press in over a decade.  

At some point, the knowledge that you are good at what you do, and the joy derived from practicing your craft becomes a principal source of satisfaction.

You don't need a whole bunch of people telling you how great you are and making a big fuss. You just need to know that you are doing your best and that your skills are intact. In fact, there is likely an inverse relationship between how good you are and the amount of praise you need.

The point of all this is that we should take a moment to acknowledge when something is done well by a seasoned expert.

They don't need it.

They don't expect it.

They're just doing what they do.

And they tend to do it with such nonchalance that it is easy to take them for granted.

I'm going to keep my eyes open for truly skilled people and make sure I give them the credit they deserve. Of course, I will continue to celebrate breakthroughs as well.

Thank you so much for your time today.

I hope that you have a truly blessed day!