Insta-Pot vs Slow Cooker - A Metaphor For Life



Which is better, your trusty old slow-cooker or the new version of a pressure cooker, the Insta-Pot? Well, based on a non-scientific pole (but tons of great comments and insights) here are a few thoughts from some of my friends and family.

Slow Cooker

I already have one, so don’t want more stuff.

Tastes better cooked more slowly.

I have a larger one, some things don’t fit in the smaller Insta-Pot.

I am old fashioned and just like my old favorite.

Best for good peanuts.

Aroma therapy


Insta-Pot

Can do both – slow and fast – so sold my slow cooker.

Great for dry beans.

I love being able to make meatloaf and potatoes in 30 minutes.

More versatile – best all in one.

I got rid of my slow cooker – no longer needed.

More options – souse vide and Air Fryer – my kitchen isn’t big enough!

While it was fun to summarize this input from 50 friends, the initial question is wrong. Based on the responses to the survey neither is better or worse than the other, they are each suited best to different things. Some things are better cooked slowly over lower heat, and other things are better cooked quickly under pressure. If you wanted to get fancy you could even purchase a Souse-Vide cooker that literally cooks a steak over 24 hours – that is slow cooking. The result, however, is a perfectly cooked and moist steak that you would have to pay big bucks for at a fancy restaurant – no fast food there. On the other hand, if you simply forgot about dinner until too late and want to throw 5 ingredients together with 2 frozen chicken breasts and eat in 30 minutes – Insta-pot to the rescue. So, each tool is suited to a specific function depending upon your needs and desires. I would have to say that if you could only have one, I and most respondents would choose the Insta-pot, sorry trusty old slow-cooker. While it is not ideal for all slow cooking situations it seems the most versatile for “acceptable” results that most of us would enjoy.


The Metaphor

For those of you who know me I am not a professional cook nor an appliance salesman, so what is the point? I am all about helping people live their best life, with a focus on helping people who live below average income. These creative, courageous, and innovative people work harder for less return than the other half of people who have more financial resources. I have nothing against either group having personally been on both sides of the scale at different times. The metaphor comes in how you live your life - is fast or slow better?


Should I go Fast or Slow?

Is it better to try to build the knowledge, skills, and habits of a more successful life fast or slow? Like our analysis in the first part of this post, it is the wrong question. The better question might be “When is it better to make changes slowly or more rapidly?”.

In humans the metaphor is the opposite to the cookers. When, as a human, you are under tremendous pressure it is generally best to go slow, when the pressure is off and you have more time/resources it is more effective to go faster. I don’t see any absolutes here, but each situation is on some continuum between high and low pressure. The advice then is consistent with that continuum, and only you can determine where you fall on the scale – there is no black and white or right or wrong.




Think of it this way. Each person at a given time has a fixed amount of capacity for change, like a glass that can only hold so much before it overflows. When outside forces require change that takes up some of your capacity, your self-directed change should flex proportionally. Fortunately, you are only fixed in capacity in a single moment because you can grow and handle more – to a point. As you follow the pattern below your capacity grows, so you can handle greater outside pressures and internal growth. The sweet spot seems to be in the middle of a paradigm.

No pressure = no growth – Stretch growth – Stretch to overflowing.


Lower pressure

Perhaps you are laid off and are getting both regular unemployment and the additional stimulus payments (basically double unemployment). In this setting, unless you are home schooling or some other additional pressure, you are likely in the position of having some money and some time. In this favorable setting if you have goals that require significant changes e.g. learning a language, developing technical skills, learning to budget, etc. it would be a great time to invest significant time and effort into developing those skills. Take an online course, read self-help books, dedicate 2-hour blocks (or whatever time you can concentrate) to the development of that skill, ideally with 10 minute breaks on the hour. This will be most effective for you to move forward and improve yourself, and your situation.


Higher pressure

Perhaps you are not laid off and in fact are working more hours than ever. In this setting you are under a lot of pressure to perform while keeping the rest of life on track as well. Coming home from work you have less energy, combined with less time. For you to take on a new language in 2-hour blocks every day is likely impossible. You can still learn a language (or whatever your goal is) you will just have to take it more slowly and take longer to accomplish it. Patience and persistence will be key here.


In either case recognize that one of the main points of life is to develop and grow. There is no standing still here, only moving forward or moving backward. Pushing too hard leads to frustration, failure, exhaustion. Not pushing at all leads to sliding backwards in your own personal development and a lack of accomplishment, satisfaction, and happiness. In the stretch zone you are leading your life with intention, instead of letting whatever influence that comes along rule your life.


I share 8 concepts will help you stay on track (stretching), sane (not overflowing), and feeling in greater control of your life.

  1. Do you have goals for the main aspects of life: spiritual, physical, mental, interpersonal, professional? Not ten goals, but perhaps one goal per area at a time is a great start. Even if you have one goal in one area, then start another in a new area after the first is accomplished, you are progressing!

  2. Write your goals down and share them with people close to you.

  3. Set up a regular accountability mechanism e.g. I write my weight on my calendar each morning so that I can see each day progress, or backsliding. Do what works for you.

  4. Do you have 3 professional goals and no interpersonal goals? Any version of this is likely to take you off-balance, certainly over time. While there are times when some goals must take precedence, in general you want balance for all the same reasons you want physical balance. Ignoring any of the key areas of your life will leave you wobbly under pressure and lopsided.

  5. Break larger goals into small parts and focus on only one part at a time. Over time, accomplishing smaller goals both builds your confidence, supports motivation, and achieves the larger goal as well.

  6. Remember that when you are kind to yourself you are in a better mental state to successfully address your problems and opportunities. Beating up on your children is a bad idea, beating up on yourself is equally bad.

  7. Take time out of your day for pondering and mindfulness. This will look different for different people. I practice affirmations and take time to ponder and pray every day. Others meditate, practice guided imagery, spend time in nature, or simply focus on their breathing. Whatever works for you taking time out of the rush of life increases your insights, perspective, and builds pathways in your brain that make you more present and resilient. Practicing daily before bed helps you sleep better so you are even more alert and energetic the next day.

  8. If you are struggling with something think back to any time when you did at least a little better. It is normal that you have better and worse times, responses, and performance. It is common to dwell on the worst times as if they were the only option. If you focus on when you did better, you start to build the confidence that you can duplicate and even start to improve on that better example. Break the situation down into its parts to identify where you did better, and worse, so you can reinforce the good and address the bad one piece at a time.


Did this answer the fast/slow question for you? Cooking fast or slow depends upon what your goal is, how much time you have, and how much room is in your kitchen. Cooking, however, is not an option if you want to eat. Success in the kitchen depends on using the right tool for the right job.


In life is fast or slow better? There is no single answer here either, it depends upon your goal, how much time you have, and how much room you have in your capacity to deal with change currently. Change, however, is not optional. It will happen to you, and often does without your input or approval. Following the 8 concepts makes you the architect of your own life and sets you on the path to your own, unique best life.

HVASF provides an automatic, small, daily dose of motivation based on the core cognitive foundations of self-efficacy and self-compassion.  With this daily dose you are primed mentally to take the further steps to live intentionally, accomplish your goals, and attain balance.  Click here to find out more www.hvasf.com.

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