Do you have a food that carries with it memories of a special place or time? Perhaps it was a treat from your youth. You may have had it on a vacation. Or maybe it was something shared with someone you love. Regardless, the food tastes better because of those memories. For much of my extended family, having lived in Africa at some point, samosas are such a food.
At Thanksgiving dinner, we were talking about memories from Kenya. We remembered the people, the fun things we did, and the food – especially the samosas. The conversation eventually moved on, but I didn’t forget it.
And so, at dinner the next day, a few accomplices and I brought out a plate of them. How we kept the whole thing a secret, I’m still not sure. I’m glad we did though. It was worth it.
I shall never forget that moment of delight. “Samosas!” Anticipation gave way to surprise which gave way to joy and excitement and love. Heaven itself is underwritten by moments such as these.
It was a simple gift, and it was beautiful. It also left me full of questions. What was it that made such an act so special? What can we do to make them happen more often? Can one make a life out of that? This is what I’ve come up with:
Delight comes from knowledge of others. In this case, I knew that my family loved samosas. I had the insight to know that such a gift would be a good one. To delight someone we have to know them. And doing that most often requires listening.
Yes, it’s true in my example that they were family and I should know them well. But I know them because of time spent together. I’ve invested in those relationships.
Delight is an act from within. Knowledge alone is not enough. To give the gift of delight takes action. That action isn’t haphazard or random, but is a gift of ourselves. That makes the gift far more valuable than it would be by itself.
Delight doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. Buying the samosas cost less than $25 and only took an hour of my time to pick them up. A smile can make someone’s day, and those are free to give. The price or effort involved isn’t what makes such gifts so special. It’s the emotion and intent behind them. The thought really does count.
One of the best ways to foster an attitude of delight is to delight people. After that evening, I started looking for other opportunities. Slowly, I’m getting better at seeing and acting on them. This website is one such example. A key goal to my writing is to delight you. That’s not to say I reach that goal all the time, but practicing has helped me get better at it.
Delight is about exceeding expectations. Set the bar high. Go above it. Repeat.
Delight is the foundation for a great life. I believe that the best kind of life is one that makes other people matter. That’s what delight is all about. When you delight someone, they become important.
Such moments are far too rare, even in my own life. I want to change that. So here’s my challenge to you. Think of a way to delight at least one person this week. It can be a friend, family member, customer, or stranger. It can be as grand or as simple as you like. I’m looking forward to hearing your stories.
I should also note that if you haven’t had a samosa yet, you are missing out. They are a delightful food. And yes, I am completely biased in this matter. For those like me that currently live outside of Kenya, you can often get them at Indian stores and restaurants.
Hooray for Samosas! I made this photo of our dog, Prince, at home in Nakuru, Kenya.