The Dirty F-Word And 7 Simple Steps For Making Sensational Homemade Pizza With Your Own Two Hands, Part 7: Assuming Success
PART 7 IN A 7-PART SERIES
“Professional sports meets homemade pizza? Ridiculous!” I understand. But you’re going to have to trust me on this: It works and it’s all going to make sense. In fact, there’s an entire industry around the process that we’re about to discuss. People make good money and athletes win trophies because of something that can sound like hogwash on a platter.
And a warning: A lot of this is not obviously about pizza. It’s about things affecting pizza. It’s about a holistic approach to life, the universe and pizza. Life is a circle. So is pizza. Is this getting ridiculous enough yet?
Before we get too deep into your moment of ridiculous pizza Zen, let’s recap. This is the final installment of the focus series for pizzamakers. People fear “focus” because it sounds like work. It sounds intense. It sounds like no fun. It's the dirty F-word in pizza and beyond.
The reality is that focus is a lack of intensity. Focus is about clearing away the mess at the sides, both literally and metaphorically.
Focus makes things easier. Approach pizza without the baggage of everything else going on in your kitchen and your life, and hey—that pizza comes out round, it looks fantastic and it tastes great! Focus makes fun!
As you know if you’ve been along for the entire journey, the seven steps of pizza focus are:
Yes, today is Step 7: Assuming Success. Like everything else on the list, this is a tool you cannot buy. And with this step, there aren’t even any tools related to it, like a peel or a steel. Step 7 lives exclusively inside your head.
“Oh, my god! He’s going down the New Age pizza hole!” Nope. Not at all. If you spend any time with me, you’ll recognize me as someone without a lot of patience for new-age anything. (OK, I occasionally wear purple.)
“Assume success!” is a phrase my wife likes to use. I don’t talk a lot about The Fabulous Honey Parker in these pages and posts. She’s more interested in savoring pizza than in making it.
She’s also been hugely successful in her business by (quite literally) assuming success. She used to be a Senior Vice President at the world’s biggest advertising agency. She left college, got a great gig, got raises, climbed the ladder, won awards, became a gun for hire, worked in Hollywood, and is now a novelist. Why? Focus and assuming success.
When Honey was a brand new writer in Hollywood, she wanted to get a literary agent. Most new writers are desperate for an agent. It's a years-long, uphill slog filled with rejection and loathing. Not Honey. She was represented by an established and successful agent in a matter of weeks. Why? Assuming success and focusing on the task. (It also made her friends' heads spin.)
This assumption of success also works for professional athletes. (You were wondering how this was going to get tied in, weren’t you?) It’s a practice that has been around for decades. It has blossomed into its own industry. It’s called sports visualization. To be overly simplistic about it, sports visualization is running a film in your head related to what the process of winning looks like.
Visualization works—and it works in making pizza. You also do not need to hire a visualization consultant. You just need to focus. Focus goes hand in hand with assuming success. In this case, it’s about envisioning what successful pizza looks like.
This was made quite vivid to me just recently. I’ve made use of visualization for years. (I should probably be doing it more often.) But early last year, I had a startling experience with a kind of accidental pizza visualization. (I did not get any on me.)
I was in new circumstances. The prospect of having new people in for pizza, and making those new pizzas in a new kitchen came together all of a sudden in a mental movie. It all came into swift focus (that word!) with a clarity like I’ve never experienced.
The result? Possibly the most relaxed and successful home pizza night in 20 years. Making the pizzas was easy. While I remained focused on making the pizza, it was also easy to have conversations. (That’s not always the case.) And I’m fairly certain the guests were pleased. One of them has been overheard telling people, “Oh, you need to have it. It will ruin you for all other pizza.”
So, this is the essence of focus #7: Assume success by making yourself a mental movie of what successful pizza looks like. Imagine how much fun it’s going to be. See the people you’re serving, even if it’s just you. I’m convinced that this is why my first successful pizzas back in the day were as good as they were: I had a goal and a new understanding of pizza, along with an image of what it should look like.
Focus, focus, focus. First, focus on the style of pizza, not seven styles of pizza. (I just saw some guy’s social media post of the first seven pizzas he’s made, each of them a different style. It was neither pretty nor appetizing.) Second, focus on the type of oven you’re going to use (with the home oven being the simplest). Third, focus making the dough as a friend and allowing the yeast to do what they do by giving them the time and the space. Fourth is focusing on the work area and prepping it to facilitate focus on pizza and pizza alone. Fifth is stretching the dough with confidence. Sixth is extending that confidence to launching the pizza.
And finally, focus number seven is knowing before you go in what you want your night of pizza to look like. Yeah, I know. Again, it sounds like I’m playing the New Age card. Nope. I’m just talking about basic things that often aren’t covered in pizza books, and which many pizza beginners ignore even if they are.
It’s all about the headspace. And when focus happens, and the headspace is prepared for pizza, great pizza happens.
Ready to envision yourself making pizza? Want a simple and silly guide to basic pizza preparedness? Check out the fast and funny pizzamaker’s manual, Free The Pizza! (A Simple System For Making Great Pizza Whenever You Want With The Oven You Already Have), which you can find at Amazon by clicking here.
Blaine Parker is the award-winning author of the bestselling, unusual and amusing how-to pizza book, Free The Pizza. Also known as The Pizza Geek and "Hey, Pizza Man!", Blaine is fanatical about the idea that true, pro-quality pizza can be made at home. His home. Your home. Anyone's home. After 20 years of honing his craft and making pizza in standard consumer ovens across the nation, he's sharing what he's learned with home cooks like you. Are you ready to pizza?
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