Our friends Joe and Val have a lovely cabin on the shore of a peaceful lake in the Minnesota northwoods. When you visit them there, there is only one rule that everyone abides by: Relax.
That can mean many things, whether that be sleeping late, having a long conversation with a morning cup of coffee on the deck, reading by the fireplace, playing “cabin games” after a simple dinner, or playing in or on the water with any of the available toys.
The best way to illustrate the concept, though, is how Joe describes some of the properties around the shoreline. Cruising the lake, he’ll point to one sitting high on a hill with a long staircase down to the water and say, “That doesn’t pass the salsa test.” When we asked for clarity, he said, “let’s say you decide to go out for a cruise, and you take some chips with you in case you want to munch on something. You get in the boat and realize you forgot the salsa. If the house is too far away from the dock, you’ll likely say, ‘oh, forget it,’ and not bother going back to get it. So you end up with just a bag of dry chips.”
Joe’s Salsa Test can be applied to almost anything in life. You’re working on a project, and you’re missing the one thing that could make it sparkle. But you have neither the time nor the desire to climb the staircase and go “back up the hill” to fetch that extra element, so you accept it as good enough and are done with it.
Or you’re in a relationship, and your dates have fallen into a routine that is familiar, but not exciting. You know what might spice things up, but it feels like just too much effort, so you accept the status quo.
Or you’re trying to get the kids to bed, and once you’ve gotten them into their pajamas and had them brush their teeth, you’re so focused on what else you have to do that you refuse to read the three books your five-year-old has hopefully laid out on the bed, in spite of the sweet cuddles that would likely be part of it.
The Salsa Test is the difference between good and great; satisfaction and dissatisfaction. It’s what transforms an experience from “meh” to “oh my!” It’s the criteria that determines whether your energy is bright or blah.
Consider any area of your life where you are less than happy. Can it pass the Salsa Test? And if not, what can you do to make the extra joy you crave quick and easy to obtain? You may not be able to bring the house closer to the shoreline, so-to-speak, but you can make better plans before you leave the house, keep a stocked cooler on the dock, use your cell phone to call the house to ask someone who hasn’t left yet to grab the salsa from the ‘fridge, or call over to the neighbors, whose house is closer to shore than yours, and ask if they have any you can borrow.
You might be saying, “chips without salsa are fine with me.” Maybe so. But if you do that repeatedly in multiple areas of your life, you might be denying yourself moments of delight that would light you up in new ways.
So try the Salsa Test. It’s a tasty way to get more energy flowing.
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